Angelo R. DiGirolamo
October 21, 1921 – September 21, 2014
Resident of Monterey
We are profoundly saddened by the sudden, but peaceful, passing of Angelo R. DiGirolamo in the early morning of Sunday, September 21st.
The son of Sicilian immigrants, Filippo and Rosina, Angelo was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, on October 21st, 1921. A resident of Monterey from age 16, Angelo immediately found himself plying the ocean waters with his father to help support his large family. (Indeed, Angelo sometimes reminisced humorously that he was a far better fisherman than he was a student.) Over the years, Angelo learned life was more than purse seines and long lines. In 1945, he and his brothers pooled their final pay as World War II veterans to turn a decrepit fish packing shed into well-regarded "Angelo's on Fisherman's Wharf" (where broiled salmon was $.75 and abalone steak was $1.25!). It was at this time that Angelo began a long-standing and close relationship with renowned local artist, Bruce Ariss, co-designer of a building considered then by some Peninsulans to be just a garishly-painted conversation piece. But the concept worked, and after its opening in 1946, until its sale in 1984, the restaurant attracted many Monterey Bay regulars and tourists, not just with its rich and unique colors, but with its fine food and comfortable, friendly atmosphere. Indeed, Angelo was always immensely proud that the restaurant drew many visiting celebs through the years, to include Greer Garson and Kim Novak. Busy as he was as owner of a demanding enterprise, Angelo also served on the Monterey City Council in the early 1960's and was always considered a respected leader and member of the Old Fisherman's Wharf Association.
Despite his success as restaurateur, Angelo knew his true passion was for the dramatic arts. And so it was that in 1975, with timber salvaged from buildings on the Presidio of Monterey, he and Bruce Ariss, along with a crew of brothers, sons, and nephews, constructed "The New Wharf Theater" (known today as the "Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater"). From the theater's opening, through this past summer, Angelo has been producer and set builder extraordinaire, as well as mentor and cherished cheerleader to both seasoned and first-time actors alike in productions of "Oklahoma," "Peter Pan," "Cabaret," "The Sound of Music," "The Pirates of Penzance," and "The Mikado," to name a few. For a sense of Angelo's profound, positive impact on the lives of so many actors and theater patrons, one need only sample the outpour of heart-felt sentiment on the Facebook page bearing the theater's name.
As loving spouse and father, Armed Forces Veteran, iconic figure on the Wharf and in the community, and patron of the arts, Angelo has touched many lives and will be missed sorely by all.
Angelo was predeceased by brothers John, Anthony, Andrew, and Antonio, and sisters Katie and Mary. He is survived by sisters Jenny (Angelo), Josephine, Millie (Irving), and Anita and brother George (Diane). He is also survived by his spouse of 64 years, Adrienne; children Bernadette (Joseph), Philip (Michele), Roseanna (Anthony); grandchildren Joseph (Lisa), Angelo, Angelo (Leslie), Philip, Amy, Erin, Matthew, Megan, and Scott; and great-grandchildren Jessica, Giuseppe, Dominic, Angelo, Dominic, Gianna, and Bella Rose.
There will be a public viewing at San Carlos Cathedral (500 Church St., Monterey), on Thursday, September 25th from 6:00-7:00 pm, followed by a vigil at 7:00 pm. On Friday, September 26th at 9:30 am, there will be a funeral mass at the same location.
In lieu of flowers to honor Angelo's memory, the family appreciates donations to San Carlos Cathedral, 500 Church Street, Monterey, CA 93940 or a charity of choice
. Please visit www.missionmortuary.com
to offer online condolences.