Henry M. DePetro, "Hank," of Greeley, 78, joined his Heavenly Father February 26, 2021. Born May 13, 1942 in Pueblo, CO to Anthony DiPietro and Concettina Casciola, he grew up in a small home on Box Elder Street, a stones-throw from the Pueblo steel mill, where many in the blue-collar Italian neighborhood slaved, after which they would head to nearby Gus' Tavern for a mandatory cold beer on the way home from a hard day. A young and spirited Henry attended Strack Elementary, then Keating Junior High where he got into much-storied mischief with his two best friends Jack Delpapa and Tom Pannunzio. While in school he would discover his passion for football, running track, science, ROTC, girls, and Rock & Roll. He graduated from Pueblo Central in 1960. He entered Naval basic training in 1963 at San Diego's Naval Basic Training Center and earned his stripes out on "the Grinder". After basic training he moved on to Corpsman School at U.S. Naval Hospital Corps School in San Diego, then Operating Room Tech School in Oakland, CA. As a young adult, he came to view his childhood at home as a very perplexing time that led him on what would become a very prolific life voyage. Because of this, his pursuit of higher learning became his passion and focus where he would earn 5 degrees: an Associate of Arts, and a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Colorado State College in Pueblo. Continuing his aim he relocated to Greeley in 1966 where he earned a Masters degree, a Specialist of Education, and ultimately a Doctorate of Education from the University of Northern Colorado. His education would lead him into a career as a School Psychologist for Greeley District 6, and later as a special education teacher at Greeley West High School. In retirement he enjoyed traveling and spent many weeks a year in Hollywood, CA visiting his son and daughter and enjoying the sights and sounds of the city, even working as a security guard at three annual Academy Awards. He was a life-long member, and in the mid-1970's, became President of the Greeley Lion's Club and would also serve as Lion's Club Drug Awareness Chairman of Colorado during the Reagan Administration. He was also a member of the Marine Corp League, and volunteered with the Salvation Army. Henry was an eccentric guy and had many varying interests. Music was always a main expression of his and he could be found listening to everything from the birthings of Rock & Roll to the hits and wonders of the decades of his life's journey. His other many life's interests included dabbling in everything from art, pottery, archeology, mechanics, home-improvement projects, model trains, and tying flies. He loved the Rocky Mountains and fishing, camping, and hunting along their lakes and rivers. He loved and lived for life's spontaneous moments. His lifelong pursuit of life's meaning led him to express his heartfelt observations through poetry, lyrics, and praising the Lord. The grandson of immigrants from Agnone, Italy, he had a huge love of red wine, and enjoyed it daily. He had deep pride in his family roots and was thrilled to visit his ancestral home and step foot on the ground his grandparents had once walked. Hank grew up Roman-Catholic but converted to the Baptist faith at the urging of fellow educator, Paul Rutherford, in the 1970's, then to more evangelical and non-denominational teachings. His ups and downs led him to a very personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He walked in a deep relationship with the Lord and believed in eternal life through Christ's resurrection. He believed one day he would be at the throne of God worshipping Him in Heaven and reunited with his family and friends for the ultimate reunion for all eternity through God's grace. He is survived by his son, Anthony DePetro, Los Angeles; daughters, Christen DePetro, Greeley and Mary Beth Torres, Pueblo; "adopted son" and friend, Donnie Criswell; sister, Josephine Carleo; nephews, Robert (Sue) DiPietro of Pueblo and Michael Carleo of Fort Worth; grandson, Christian Torres; great-nephew, Anthony Cordova and great-niece, Caitlyn DiPietro, and many wonderful friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Pietroantonio and Carmella (Mastronardi) DiPietro, Nick and Ersilia (Sammartino) Casciola; parents, Anthony and Concettina (Casciola) DiPietro; brother, Peter DiPietro; niece, Susan Ann Carleo; nephew, Joseph DiPietro and countless beloved friends. Hank's Life Celebration will be held at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, May 13, his birthday, at Adamson Life Celebration Home with military honors by the Marine Corp League and the U.S. Navy. A reception will follow in the Adamson Reception Center. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to "Northern Colorado Suicide Prevention Alliance" in care of Adamson, 2000 47th Ave., Greeley, CO 80634. Friends may leave condolences at AdamsonCares.com.
Published in Greeley Tribune on May 9, 2021.