1926 – 2013
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On the evening of Saturday, March 2, 2013 Al Nocciolo passed away peacefully at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA surrounded by his loving family; he was 86. The cause of death was kidney failure, though he lived a long and active life with congestive heart failure, inspiring us with his optimism and a vitality that shined brightly to the end. He lived and worked in Saugus, CA, for 51 years before moving to the Maravilla Retirement Community in Santa Barbara, CA in 2009 to be near family.
Al was an educational icon and active community servant in what was then known as Saugus, CA later renamed Santa Clarita. He was the educational and curricular visionary for the Saugus Union School District (SUSD) where he was employed from 1958 to 1991, working as a Teacher, Principal, and Assistant Superintendent; he was elected to the SUSD School Board (1991-1994), and continued working at Highlands School as an Instructional Aide in retirement.
In 1987, under his leadership as Principal, Highlands School was an early recipient of the prestigious Distinguished School Award. Always a hands-on person, Al worked tirelessly training teachers and preparing students to succeed, both in the classroom and in life. He inspired young people to learn and celebrated their efforts and achievements, often rewarding them with homemade cookies and treats lovingly baked by his wife Marilyn.
Like many men from his generation, Al was motivated to contribute to the betterment of society. He was instrumental in the movement to establish the local community college that would become the College of the Canyons, working closely with Edward E. Muhl. He was active in building two Little League fields with Lou Calzia and others, and he spearheaded the establishment of the Pop Warner football program along with Bob Anderson. In the 1960's and 70's, he was active in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Newhall, CA ushering at Mass and operating the Craps table at the annual BBQ; he also was among the founding members of the Knights of Columbus with Rocco Cacciatore.
His education was interrupted by service in WWII, as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne at Fort Benning, GA. Afterwards, he returned to college at the University of Nevada, marrying fellow student Marilyn Neal in 1950 (the Redhead) and earning a B.A. (History, 1951) with the aid of the G.I. Bill. While living in Reno, NV their first two children were born, Albert (Abby), and Rosanne (Ro). He worked multiple jobs to support his growing family: a teacher by day, running a janitorial business on the side, and working as a slot machine technician at The Hotel Mapes by night. With money saved, the family traveled back east to NJ to live with family so he could attend Columbia University in NY. He earned a M.A. (Education, 1955), and the family returned to the West coast with their third child, Valarie, in tow. Children Mark and Teresa rounded out the family and they settled into life in Saugus, CA as the 60's were dawning.
Deeply devoted to his family and many lifelong friends, his greatest joy was spending time in the company of others, sharing a good meal and telling (mostly) clean jokes, always outfitted in a rotating selection of hats and vests, which he wore with gusto. His limitless optimism and confidence inspired others to believe in themselves and work hard to achieve their goals. He believed that "no man is an island" ~ that we all need support and guidance from family, teachers, mentors, and peers. His life was an example we admire and strive to emulate, and he will be dearly missed.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years Marilyn, and their five children: Albert (Linda) of Mariposa, CA; Rosanne Spencer (Gordon) of Saratoga, CA; Valarie Kahoun (Ken) of Scottsdale, AZ; Mark (Stacey) of Santa Barbara, CA; and Teresa Calderon (Steve) of Thousand Oaks, CA; two sisters: Faye Serino and Philomena McLeod, both of NJ; 11 grandchildren: Noël Nocciolo, Andrew Spencer, Philip Spencer, Natalie Spencer, Mathew Spencer, Brittney Finnegan (Patrick), Erin Spong (Nicholas), Katie Kahoun, Tessa Kahoun, Corinne Calderon, Chase Calderon; and 5 great-grandchildren: Mackenna Kaats, Hudson Steinbrunner, Miles Steinbrunner, Gracelyn Spong, and Valentina Spong; and many nieces and nephews. Al was born in September 23, 1926 in Newark, NJ to Italian immigrant parents, Gerardo and Rosina Nocciolo. He was predeceased by his parents and his four brothers: Rocco, Gerardo, Anthony, and Ernest.
A Celebration of Life will be held for friends and family at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, Please visit http://memorial.yourtribute.com/alnocciolo
The Signal, March 17, 2013
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Published on signalscv.com from March 17 to March 23, 2013