August 5, 1930 - July 19, 2021 "Joe Scarcello is your dad?" Joe is a great guy! How many times did we hear that growing up? Our Pop was a great guy. A great guy, a good man and a "Real San Pedran." Dad's parents emigrated from Calabria, Italy. Raffaelle (Ralph) and Celeste Scarcello we're married in 1906. She was 17 and he was 23. In the twenties, Ralph and Celeste had their little business, Rapid Shoe Repair, which was on Sixth Street just above Beacon. When Dad was born they lived in a little duplex on 13th and Centre Street that still stands today. Celeste lost her first baby and was told she would never have another. More than 20 years passed and when she was 41 years old little Joe arrived. Sadly, she lived only five days after Pop was born. Left alone with a baby to raise, Ralph accepted the help of a family friend, Mrs. Fermina (Roupoli) Pugliese. Mrs. Pugliese had been widowed and never had children of her own. A year or two later Ralph and Fermina married. Pop loved her dearly and never referred to her as his stepmom. She was always his second Mom. They spoke Italian at home and Dad would remember with a smile how if he was ever a little naughty his Mom would say, "Vediamo chi cede per prima, la pietra o la noce!" (Let's see who cracks first, the rock or the walnut!). They lived in a big house at 555 9th Street. It was torn down when the area was rezoned but Dad had many fond memories of that house with its big wine cellar where they made "Dago Red" wine and tomato sauce from homegrown tomatoes. Dad loved jazz music and some of his most enduring friendships began when guys would pass by the house and hear the great music coming out. It was a great day when Dad discovered YouTube where he could see and hear all the great ones! Dad had an amazing memory! He had so many great stories of growing up in Pedro: Saturday afternoons at the Warner Grand where for two bits you could see a newsreel, a short subject, a cartoon and a double feature and how you could get a discount if you brought the wrapper from a loaf of DiCarlo's bread; Skinny dipping off the docks!; Riding the Red Car to Los Angeles with his Mom to go shopping; Getting up early before school to go with his Uncle Gabe on his route delivering fish all over the Southbay; Sneaking a little wine into his thermos and taking it to school! Pop went to Cabrillo Avenue Elementary, Dana and graduated from San Pedro High in the summer of '49. After school he worked in the shoe repair shop and also for the Trani family in their shoe shop. He served in a M.A.S.H. unit in the U.S. Army from 1954-1956. Stationed in Germany, he had many interesting stories of his travels in Germany and to Italy. Dad worked for Continental Can Company, where all the cans for StarKist were made, driving a forklift for 30 years until the plant closed in the 80s. He told us how he used to walk to the ferry building from the house on Ninth Street and take the ferry over to Terminal Island to work. On August 12, 1961 Dad married the love of his life, our beautiful Mom, Marilyn, at the Wayfarer's Chapel. They honeymooned in San Francisco and Dad was always fond of remembering how they drove all the way in their 1960 Volkswagen Bug on only $5 worth of gas! In 1966 and '68 we kids came along, (Jeana & Steve). We have many happy memories of growing up in the house on 34th and Leland. Pop was a skilled carpenter and we'll never forget the wonderful little playhouse with the bunkbeds that he built for us in the backyard or how he gave us a few tools and let us "help." Dad loved the outdoors, too, and took us on many wonderful camping trips all over California. So many great memories! He cherished his friends. Some of whom he knew from childhood. He really missed the Friday lunches at the bistro on 25th when things shut down but he kept in touch with his friends and loved you all. You know who you are. Raise a glass of Dago Red to Joe, with a toast, as he would always say, "Buona Vita, Buona Salute, Buona Fortuna!" Ciao Pop. Thank you for being the best Dad ever and the most loving husband to our Mom. Your first Mom would be so proud to see the man that you became. We were so blessed to have you in our lives. You're forever in our hearts. We love you.
Published by Daily Breeze on Aug. 15, 2021.