It is with a heavy heart I bring to you the news of Rocco’s passing. We lost him late last night.
One week ago Rocco’s health took a turn for the worse and we transferred him to hospice care. His heart and lungs were not working properly and he was given an oxygen line to keep his levels up. When my father went to visit him on Monday, Rocco did not respond, even when his hand was held.
On Tuesday, Rocky’s health did a complete 180 from the previous day and improved significantly. We were able to visit him and he was alert, talking, eating, and laughing. We stayed with him for many hours and we were grateful for our time with him as he was back to his old self. He had a few more good days and was visited by some more friends. However, by Friday morning he was no longer alert. He was not able to talk and had trouble keeping his eyes open.
Yesterday morning we received a call from the doctor informing us his condition was declining and was having trouble breathing. We stayed with him all afternoon – I held his hand tight but he never opened his eyes. We had plans to to see him again this morning but I believe he decided it was his time to go.
He passed on Sunday, August 26th at 10:20pm. Fortunately, he wasn’t in pain and he was surrounded by family all day. He was 94 years young and survived by son John, daughter-in-law Ann, sister Charlotte, and granddaughters Cara and Jill. Please check back for wake and funeral arrangements.
Patrick L. Gualtieri, a U.S. Army veteran of Vietnam who helped build a struggling New York City Veterans Day Parade into America’s Parade, the largest celebration of service in America, died July 21 after a short illness.
Pat Gualtieri, 70, was born and raised in Brooklyn. He served in the U.S. Army from 1966-68, including a one-year tour in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.
He once described lying in the jungle watching as “Puff,” an American gunship, rained fire on North Vietnemese regulars during Tet. “I had mixed feelings, happy to be alive, yet saddened that so many would die.”
After a career in event production in Los Angeles, Pat returned to New York City in 2000 to take over the struggling Veterans Day Parade. As executive director of the United War Veterans Council, producers of the parade, Gualtieri built the annual event into America’s Parade, the largest celebration of service in the nation.
The parade now includes more than 25,000 participants, including active duty military units, veterans organizations, high school marching bands from around the nations, top elected officials from New York City and New York State and the highest ranking U.S. military commanders.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators line Fifth Avenue on November 11 to pay tribute to veterans. Pat also has arranged to have the parade broadcast nationwide and of Armed Forces TV to every U.S. military installation and ship in the world.
“The veterans community mourns the loss of a giant, who devoted his life to honoring those who served,” said Vincent McGowan, founding president of the United War Veterans Council. “Pat’s boundless energy and unflagging good will helped drive our efforts to shape a world-class effort to honor service on November 11 and every day of the year.”
Pat is survived by two daughters, Tara Mendelson and Gayla Gualtieri; a brother, Joseph, a grandson and a granddaughter and his life partner, Marlene ‘Molly’ Levi.
PAT GUALTIERI MEMORIAL INFORMATION
For those wishing to join us in paying final respects to Pat, here is the information:
Cusimano & Russo Funeral Home
2005 West 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11223.
Saturday, 2 – 5 p.m. and 7 – 10 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Memorial donations may be made to Friends of Vietnam Veterans Plaza and The United War Veterans Council.
Rocco was on TV last Tuesday for Veterans Day! The segment aired 11/11/14 on Fox 5 NY during the the 6pm news with Ernie Anastos. You can watch the entire segment here. Rocco’s family and friends are all very proud!
Wishing a Happy Veterans Day to all who have served. If you see someone in uniform, a simple ‘Thank You’ could brighten their day. Buy them a cup of coffee if you wish- but remember, don’t just thank a Vet today, thank one everyday.