Peter John Maraldo
For 98 years, 11 months and 14 days, Peter John Maraldo enjoyed the blessings of a rich and full life. His story is replete with interesting details of an immigrant family at the turn of the last century.
Peter's parents were born and lived in Cavasso Nuovo, in the small northeastern province of Udine, Italy. His father, Pietro Maraldo, came to America in 1912, after a brief sojourn in Germany.
The First World War followed, and it wasn't until 1920 that Pietro sent for his wife, Dirche, and their two children, Ernest and Fanny, to join him in Philadelphia. Peter was born in America in 1921.
His father joined other Italian immigrants working in the mushroom industry in Kennett Square, then the "mushroom capital" of the world.
Peter's childhood was an idyllic one, and centered in the beautiful Longwood Gardens rural countryside, growing and eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
He graduated from Dupont High School in 1941, and then enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942.
During World War II, he experienced action in Burma, India and China in the Transportation Corps. He was honorably discharged in 1949 as a sergeant.
Peter returned to eastern Pennsylvania and found employment with Mushroom Transit as a shipping manager and office supervisor, retiring after 30 years of service.
Local interests led him to the Brandywine Museum and the famous Wyeth family in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where he assisted them with many odd jobs: housesitting, driving for Nathaniel Wyeth, and caregiving.
On Nov. 15, 1980, he married Bettina "Betsy" Drake Carr.
Peter and Betsy moved to DeLeon Springs in 1994, where her parents had a home and horticultural interests.
Peter was a devout, practicing Christian, and the family were active members of Glenwood Presbyterian Church.
For a time, Peter enjoyed being a "singing waiter" at church and community functions.
Among Peter's varied interests were cooking, vegetable gardening, classical music (especially opera) and wine. He was a self-taught wine connoisseur. His family in Italy were skilled in making their own wine, and his father made it for family consumption.
Peter had a love for tennis, and continued playing until he was 90.
In 2014, he particularly appreciated participating in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., as a World War II veteran.
Peter was valued for his pure zest for life, his optimism, his good nature, and his kind and generous spirit.
He is survived by his wife, Betsy; his two nieces, Dr. Pamela J. Maraldo and Donna Maraldo; one nephew, Peter; and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, Ernest and Fanny, and his niece, Maria.
Due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 virus, a memorial service will be scheduled for a later date.
Published in The West Volusia Beacon from Oct. 21 to Nov. 5, 2020.