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Raymond Della Gala

Obituary Condolences

Raymond Della Gala
Utica
Mr. Raymond M. Della Gala, age 89, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, February 11, 2013 at the Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare Center with his loving family by his side. Raymond was born in Utica on December 4, 1923, the son of the late Dionisio and Filomena (Geruntino) Della Gala. He was a graduate of T.R. Proctor High School. Ray was a highly decorated World War II Navy war hero, earning several medals for dedicated service and valor, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medals, among many others. He was a turret gunner with the VP/VPB-26 squadron. His was the first squad to secure Tokyo Bay for the USS Missouri. The event is memorialized on a plaque in the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. Of special note, Ray took one of the very first photos of the original U.S. flag being hoisted on Mount Suribachi at the battle of Iwo Jima. On September 13, 1947 he married his childhood sweetheart, the former Congetta "Connie" Aceto, with whom he shared 65 years of true love in a long and happy marriage; they held each other in high admiration in their hearts, and were good and kind to one another. In 1976, Ray founded the annual VPB-26 Squadron Reunion together with fellow squadron member Joseph Zannelli. The Reunion exists to this day and Ray and his wife are the only couple to have attended every reunion since its inception. In recognition of his tireless efforts to organize and keep this group together, Ray was elected its permanent president. As a young man, Ray worked as his father's helper in the family pastry shop, Cafe Nationale. In later life, Ray delighted in passing along to his children and grandchildren the techniques and many delicious "secret" recipes he learned at his father's side. Raymond's main occupation in life was with the US Postal Service where he was a Letter Carrier; his service spanned 27 years until his retirement in 1985. His affiliations included being a member of the Postal Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch #375, and the National American Legion. He was a parishioner of St. Anthony & St. Agnes Church. Ray had a great love of all kinds of music, especially rock and roll, and took special pride in following the many different bands in which his son Michael was a member. The consummate family man, Ray devoted his life to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and their friends. Raymond is survived by his beloved wife, Connie; his sons and daughters-in-law, Raymond D. and Michele A. (O'Connor) Della Gala of Frankfort, and Michael D. and LaDonna Della Gala of CA; his daughter and son-in-law, Michele A. and Anthony Ricci of Utica; his grandchildren, Rhiannon, Chelsea and husband Chad Stockbridge; Daniele, Gina, Maria, and Michael; Alison Ricci and fiance Walter Wadas, and Meredith Ricci; and his great-grandchildren, Michael Raymond and Mia (Pia), and Jadon. He also leaves his brother and sister-in-law, Joseph and "Millie" Della Gala of Utica; many cherished nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, and in-laws, Gloria Della Gala, Mary Della Gala, Dan and Faith Aceto, Jane Saporito, Delores "Babe" Luizzi, and Albert Grossi. He was also blessed in his life with many wonderful friendships. He was predeceased by his siblings and their spouses, Louise and Anthony Falange, Henry "Chick" Della Gala, Anthony P. "Gellie" Della Gala, and Isabel A. Della Gala; and his in-laws, Frank and Angela Aceto, Marge Grossi, Eleanor and Patsy "Chuck" Zammiello, Salvatore Saporito and Lawrence Luizzi. A special thank-you is extended to Raymond's neighbor and friend, Tom Carcone, the Utica EMT's, and the Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare Center nurses and staff, especially Patty L., for their compassion and dedication. Visitation will be held Friday from 4:00-7:00 at the Eannace Funeral Home, Inc., 932 South St., corner of Hammond Ave. Expressions of sympathy in the form of donations may be made to the Disabled American Veterans in lieu of floral offerings; envelopes will be available at the funeral home. Raymond's funeral service and Celebration of Life will commence on Saturday morning at 10:00 from the funeral home and at 11:00 at St. Anthony & St. Agnes Church where his Mass of Christian Burial, committal prayers, and Naval Honors will be conferred. Rev. Mark Kaminski, Pastor will be officiating the services. Interment will take place in Calvary Cemetery at the convenience of the family. Online tributes at www.EannaceFuneralHome.com.
Published in The Observer-Dispatch from Feb. 13 to Feb. 14, 2013
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