At age 81, our beloved husband, father, grandfather Roberto, went to be with The Lord on 30 December 2021. To us he was a living example of an American success story. Born in Florence, Italy during WWII he immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. He would often say, "I was very fortunate to have been born in Italy and to become an American citizen, two of the most beautiful countries in the world".
Additionally, he loved living in Helotes. After retirement, he and his wife, Gloria attended a culinary school in Olivello, Italy to be able to open Pizzeria Venti in Helotes. He loved being in the restaurant to enjoy conversation with friends old and new. With a big smile, he would exclaim, "To me, I hit the jackpot. It's like being home. There are two things I love, food and people and they're both here".
Music was a strong part of his life. He played the harmonica, guitar and piano and loved to sing. As a young parent he could sing his boys to sleep or entertain them with songs during lengthy car trips to their soccer games. While working and being an active and loving parent, Roberto distinguished himself by graduating "Cum Laude" with a double major in English and Spanish from Trinity University. As a graduate student he worked at his Alma Maters, Trinity University and San Antonio College in the Language Departments teaching Italian and Spanish Language and Culture. He continued with his studies graduating from Trinity University in 1976, earning a Master of Arts degree in Latin-American Studies. He so enjoyed meeting and communicating with people at home and abroad that he went on to learn five additional languages.
Roberto started his career with the United States Air Force as a Manager Trainee assigned to the Contracting Directorate. His pursuit of excellence and love for this country is best demonstrated by his impressive career progression as he rose from a trainee to a General Manager during his years of civil service. He was assigned to highly skilled, demanding and extremely diversified positions, ranging from awarding contracts for the procurement and repair of aircraft engines to awarding contracts to employ disabled Americans, which he executed flawlessly resulting in his appointment as "Contracting Officer," with unlimited purchasing warrant and a Top Secret Security Classification.
His devotion to duty and contributions to the Air Force Mission netted him many significant appointments, performance awards and awards such as the $500 Million Club; San Antonio Federal Executive Association, EEO Award; The Quality Peer Award; Recipient of the Chairman Award from the Air Force Materiel Command in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Community of Persons with severe disabilities.
Roberto enjoyed involvement in numerous civic and professional organizations. As an avid soccer player and coach, he gave many hours of his personal time to coach several age groups from all socio-economic levels. When coaching youth teams, oftentimes children could not afford to buy cleats or would not have transportation to attend practices and games. Coach Ferruzzi would buy their cleats and give them rides to/from the soccer fields. On the other side of the spectrum, he coached the River City Defenders Soccer Team consisting of highly professional individuals, including the Mayor of San Antonio, State Representative, City Council members, Doctors, Restaurateurs and other businessmen.
So proud of his Italian heritage and love of people, he assisted the Italian Community in a variety of services on a volunteer basis. As an elected officer of the Com.it.es (Committee for Italians abroad), he was instrumental in bringing or spearheading scholastic, humanitarian and religious projects to San Antonio. Among those:
*An Italian library on loan in perpetuity to the University of Our Lady of the Lake from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Italian Consul General. This was the first time that an institution of higher learning in the Southwest had been granted an Italian library.
*The Abruzzo Relief Fund to aid victims of the 2009 earthquake. He was appointment by the Consul General of Italy to be the focal point for collection of contributions and donations in the San Antonio area, this quake was the deadliest in nearly three decades, killing hundreds of people.
*The first Memorial Mass held in the United States that honored police officers and firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty in both Venice and San Antonio. Known as the Progetto Memoria this ceremony was celebrated in April 2009. The Venice Police Dept. extended an Act of Christian brotherhood to our Police Dept. and an icon of the Madonna della Sfida (Our Lady of Challenge) was given to our church.
In October 2010, the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, awarded our dear Roberto the highest honor bestowed by the Italian government with a "Cavalierato" (knighthood) with the title of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity. This was to recognize those expatriates who made an outstanding contribution to the reconstruction of Italy after WWII in the preservation and promotion of national prestige abroad.
Roberto is survived by Gloria, his loving wife of 58 years; his devoted sons, Dr. Giancarlo (Kristina), Marco (Zaida) McKinney, TX; his grandchildren, Giancarlo Marco, Ysabella Ana, Diego Roberto, Gemma Carina, Gianna, and Gabriella
SERVICES: Visitation will begin on Monday, January 10th at 5:30pm with a Rosary to be recited at 6:30pm at the Angelus Chapel. Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, January 11th at 12 Noon at San Francesco di Paola Catholic Church, 205 Piazza Italia. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery at Cordi Marian at 11624 Culebra Rd.
CONTRIBUTIONS: In lieu of flowers, donations in Robert's name to his beloved church San Francesco di Paola would be greatly appreciated.
Condolences may be sent to the Ferruzzi family at www.theangelusfuneralhome.com