John Vitale, a World War II veteran, skilled plumber, craftsman, and gardener passed away on Friday, August 23, 2019 at the age of 96. He was pre-deceased by his loving wife, Wilma, his two brothers, Alex and Sam Vitale and his sister, Susy Vitale Leach. He is survived by his children Joanie (Ronnie), Rolf (Amy), Susan, and Debbie. In addition, he is survived by his many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
John was born July 19, 1923 in Lenola, Italy to Vincenzo Vitale and Natalina Fasolo Vitale. He would often recall walking by himself as a young child to visit his two grandmothers who lived on opposite ends of the town. In 1929, his family emigrated to the United States and came through Ellis Island. As a child during the Great Depression, John did whatever he could to help support his family in addition to going to school. He trapped and set up pins in a bowling alley in order to help feed his family and provide them with a better life. John was drafted and proudly served his country from 1943-1945 on the European front in World War II. On June 6, 1944, he joined thousands of other brave heroes and landed in the waters of Omaha Beach in Normandy, France during the D-Day invasion. He received several medals and was honored for his service. After the war, John returned home to his family in Pleasantville, NY. He began his plumbing business, John J. Vitale Plumbing and Heating, which would last for over fifty years. While maintaining his business, John always helped his parents maintain their Pleasantville home and his own home, yard, and garden in Somers. John has been described as a renaissance man always strove for perfection. He took great pride in his work and fault could never be found in any job or project that he completed. John passed along his knowledge of plumbing to his brothers, son and several of his nephews. With his incredible eye for detail, John built homes and many unique pieces of furniture. John’s immense garden was his lifelong hobby. He took great pride in what he grew and would always invite friends to come and pick his delicious tomatoes, corn, and many other vegetables. John never truly retired and was still giving plumbing and gardening advice to friends. When friends came to visit, he would share the stories of his life and laugh over many of the things and practical jokes he played as a child. John was never one to allows others to do things for him and would still ride his tractor to mow his lawn as often as he could and cook his own meals. Even at the age of 95, John still started four hundred tomato plants by seed and later moved them into his greenhouse where most of them were given away to his many friends. John was a lifelong Yankee fan and would look forward to watching them every night. Even in his last days, he found comfort in listening to his favorite team play. John truly believed that you can do anything you want to do if you set mind to it ad that age is only a number. His life is truly an inspiration to those who knew him best. The family will receive friends at the Beecher Flooks Funeral Home in Pleasantville on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 from 2-4 and 6-9. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday at Holy Innocents R.C. Church at 9:30 AM. Entombment will follow at Ferncliff Mausoleum.