Waterford - Rocco "Rocky" Totino, a native of Gioiosa Ionica in Calabria, Italy, but an adopted son of the United States, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.
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Rocky arrived in the United States in 1958 on the SS Cristoforo Colombo. Educated at the University of Messina in Italy, Rocky worked as a research scientist at Pfizer Central Research in Groton for 37 years. Over that time, he led multiple research teams and secured two patents registered in the United States and Europe. Rocky always indicated that his work was one of his greatest loves, just behind his devoted wife Viarda and his children and grandchildren. He retired with the title scientist, chemical products, research and development.
He was the epitome of the Renaissance man. Rocky could discuss nearly any topic - science, literature, politics, history, geography, languages - with incredible breadth but also minute detail. He quoted Dante Alighieri in both Italian and English. He was an architect, an engineer, a carpenter, an electrician, a sailor, a gardener, a plumber, a fisherman, a musician, a vintner, and a caricaturist (written up in The Day in 1981).
An established part of the community, Rocky was a longstanding member of Saint Joseph Catholic Church, served as president of the Feast of the Assumption, and was a life member of the New London Elks Lodge.
He leaves behind his loving wife of more than 52 years, Viarda (Tonucci) Totino; daughters, Antonella "Elle" Hartman and her husband, Hans Hartman, of Stonington, Daniela "Dani" Gorman and her husband, John Gorman, of Preston, Nadia (Totino) McGourthy and her husband, Timothy McGourthy, of Worcester, Mass.; and four beautiful grandchildren, ZoÃ« Hartman, John Totino "J.T." Gorman, Jack Hartman, and Conor Gorman. He is also survived by his brother, Michele Totino; sister, Luana Rullo, both of Italy; his aunt, Mary Iovine of New London; and his uncle, Joseph Panucci of Cape Cod, Mass.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Melvin Yoselevsky, Rocky's longtime personal physician, and the office staff, who provided Rocky and his family with constant care, support, and friendship.
His family will receive relatives and friends from 6 to 9 p.m. today, Friday, Oct. 18, at Impellitteri-Malia Funeral Home. A funeral mass will held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in New London. He will be interred at St. Mary's Cemetery in New London.
Donations may be made in Rocky's memory to
Impellitteri-Malia Funeral Home
84 Montauk Ave. New London, CT 06320
Published in The Day on Oct. 18, 2013