Fiorito, Sr, Michael
Michael Eugene Fiorito, Sr., passed away on November 26, 2012 at the age of 91. Mike was born in Rose, Province of Cosenza Italy, on January 31, 1921. His father Ralph and his Uncle Rocco had immigrated to the Mianus River area of Cos Cob to prepare to move the remaining family to the United States. Mike enjoyed telling how his grandfather and mother Laura raised him in the quiet countryside above Rose. Mike loved when his grandfather would take him hunting for deer and small game. When harvesting the family wheat, he had fun leading the mule around the large stone wheat mill in the town square. Mike helped his mother with all the garden chores. The one chore he tried to avoid was cleaning out the wine barrels as the vapors were a bit strong. He attributes that to never drinking or smoking and leading a healthy life. Mike's rich life experiences continued once in Cos Cob. Few years passed before a Cos Cob School shop teacher saw Mike's talent for building with wood and mentored Mike to attend trade school to perfect his gift. Mike completed trade school as a teenager and elevated himself to master carpenter over the course of his life. With his new associate degree in hand, Mike enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was commissioned to serve on the USS Coronis. Mike was quickly elevated to Petty Officer Ist Class Carpenter's Mate during World War II. In wartime, Mike's primary tours included, the Wake Islands, the Solomon Islands, Saipan, Guam, and the Battle of Okinawa. Due to his actions in this battle and multiple wartime tours, Mike received the Victory Medal, American Theatre Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and the Asiatic Pacific Medal 1 Star. Mike told us many stories of how he remained strong during battle repairing damaged naval ships at sea. After returning to Cos Cob, he met and married Lill Torp Olsen of Arendal, Norway. They had two children, Michael and Richard, who grew up in the house Mike built on Orchard Street across from their beloved wilderness known as Pomerance and Pinetum. Throughout his life Mike appreciated big band era jazz and swing, and often traveled to New York City and Canada to listen and dance to the bands of the time. He held a special place in his heart for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. He would say, "Listen to some good music, put on Dorsey's Marie or I'm Getting Sentimental Over You, Now that's music!" Family loved when he played Dorsey's trombone hitting each tender note using only his vocal chords. Mike is survived by his two sons, Michael Jr. of Molokai, Hawaii and his wife Andrea, his son Richard and daughter in-law Jennifer and granddaughters Grace and Laura Jo of Helena, Montana, his brother Paul Fiorita of Greenwich and his wife Pauline and nephew Tommy and niece Diane, his sister in-law Melinda Fiorita of Greenwich and nephews Jeb and Jason. He is preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Laura, his wife Lill Ingrid Torp Olsen Fiorito, his nephew Paul David Fiorita, his brother Val Fiorita, and brother in-law William Torp Olsen. Mike's family would like to thank Bernadette Whalen for her wonderful friendship over the years, the staff at the Mews and Thomas Olsen, Mike's dearest nephew who spent valuable time visiting dad. Dad will always be remembered for his work ethic, love of family and grand spirit for life, music and dance. A memorial service was held for close family on November 28th alongside his beloved wife Lill at St. Mary Cemetery. His son Richard plans to hold a memorial party in his honor next spring somewhere fun in Cos Cob along the Mianus River.
Published in GreenwichTime on Dec. 12, 2012