D'AQUILA - John Sebastian died at his home in Belle Terre, NY, on August 14, at the age of ninety one. He was the son of the late Sebastian and Agatha D'Aquila of Middletown, Connecticut Born in Middletown on April 6, 1923, he was educated in Middletown schools and served as a Medic in the 11th Armored Division during World War II, under Gen. Patton. He was in the Battle of the Bulge and was the only surviving medic of the 11th Division at the end of the war. He received a Purple Heart and was a witness to the horrors of the death camp Mauthausen as a member of the liberating force. Following the war, John was graduated from Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT and from Catholic University of America School of Law in Washington, DC. He worked for many years as an attorney for U.S.F.&G. in New York City. He was an avid theatre goer, and was an opera and symphonic music lover. He enjoyed reading and discussing books, collecting art and was a talented master cook. He loved to travel, visited many countries and made livelong friends wherever he went When he retired and moved to Belle Terre, he became absorbed in a new phase of his life. He was appointed to the board of directors of Theatre3, in Port Jefferson. The artistic director at Theatre3 wrote "From The Fires; Voices of the Holocaust" a play based in part on John's experiences at Camp Mauthausen and presented mostly in grade schools. John attended some presentations and answered questions after the play about what he had personally seen. He felt he needed to bear witness and share his experiences. John became a gifted public speaker, educating young people. Also, in his "retirement" John became active in Stony Brook University's OLLI ( Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program and a participant in a memoirs writing class, as well as continuing to enjoy opera and theatre in NYC. Most important, in 2012, he married his partner of fifty-five years, Dr. Myron Ledbetter, who survives him. He is also survived by a sister, Eleanor Fiducia, as well as by many devoted nieces and nephews and loving friends. He was a wonderful caring man and will be very much missed. A celebration of his life will be planned for a later date.
Published in Newsday on Aug. 21, 2014