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Henry Riolo


1923 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Henry Riolo Obituary
December 15, 1923 - December 21, 2017 Henry Riolo, longtime resident of Temple City, proud husband, father and grandfather, former owner of Shop Wise supermarket chain in Southern California, decorated WWII U.S. Army combat veteran and a man of uncommon wisdom, kindness and compassion, passed away peacefully at 94 with his family at his bedside on December 21, 2017. The son of Italian Sicilian immigrants Henry was raised in Lincoln Heights as the youngest of 5 siblings, all of whom attended nearby Lincoln High School. After graduating in 1943 Henry, along with his two older brothers, answered the call of duty and enlisted in the U.S. Army where he fought in the jungles of the South Pacific as an infantryman in General MacArthur's 6th Army in the battle of New Guinea for 22 consecutive months, duty he was always thankful to survive. Tall and slight, he was a man long on courage and engaged in many battles involving hand-to-hand combat, stormed numerous beaches from troop ships and even contracted malaria. After VJ Day he was re-assigned to the U.S. occupation force in Japan and finally returned home to Los Angeles in 1946. True to form, and only when asked, he never spoke of his incredible heroism and it was only much later in life that the magnitude of his service and the reason for his lifelong use of hearing aids became known to those around him. Henry credited his unwavering faith as a devout Catholic and his love for this country as a patriotic American as his sources of personal strength during the war. Invariably quiet, humble and gracious, Henry was also hard working and enterprising and in the 1950s along with his brothers founded highly successful local supermarket chain Shop Wise Markets with many of its stores located throughout the greater Los Angeles area. In 1953 he met and married his wife, the former Carmela Ponzi - a vivacious and beautiful business woman in her own right, and together they settled in Temple City raising their family of three children. They were blessed to have shared many happy years together and enjoyed a long retirement often spending their days travelling to various casinos where between the slot machines and the sports book, Henry and Carmela were never known to make many losing bets. Although different in style and manner they were inseparable, well-known and loved throughout the community. With the passing of Henry, the family would like to salute one of the last of the Greatest Generation, one of the last of the old original Italian families from Lincoln Heights (the Riolo house on Eastlake Ave. purchased near the turn of the century upon immigration into LA is still family-owned), and the last of the original Riolo children. Henry was predeceased by his wife Carmela, sisters Josie Bonfiglio, Mary Peterson, Jenny Sartori, and brothers George and Vince. He is survived by his children Sam (Elea), Annalee (David), and Charnell (Ernest), and grandchildren Annette, Danielle, Eric and Davis. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles on January 13, 2018 at 10am. noi amiamo e ci mancherai
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Jan. 4 to Jan. 5, 2018
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