The Murder of Vincenzo Civitano – 1909

Vincenzo Civitano 1868 – 1909

On October 12, 1909 a death certificate was issued for my great grandfather Vincenzo Civitano. Written with the name James Civilano, cause of death – stab wound to the chest – homicide. Two months later, on Dec. 8th his records arrived at the coroners office with his correct given name Vincenzo Civitano. (James is the common nickname for Vincenzo)

With the help of cousin Peter Marino along the way, I have been working for many years on trying to discover the name of his assailant. With so little details passed down, Vincenzo’s murder has been slow in piecing together. My Uncle Joseph, his grandson, has only a hazy memory of facts. The assailant was of Italian decent, the confrontation resulting in is death was possibly over ice/coal delivery routes, his wife, Nicoletta Marvulli remained in New York long enough to provide testimony in the trail which resulted in the assailant being convicted and being sentenced to prison. Nicoletta then returned to Grumo Appula, where they had immigrated from with her two children, Francesco (Frank) 2 years and Giuditta (Julia) abt 9 mths.

Back in 2016/17 Peter headed over to the Municipal Archives in Manhattan to comb through the records of criminal cases, with time restraints and a painstakingly long process, he had no luck. First let me explain that the records for criminal cases are listed under the assailants name. There is no data base with the victims name with the assailant listed. The records are listed alphabetically, all criminal case records grouped together, assault, larceny, homicide, abortion, theft, robbery etc… You can not just look at records for ‘homicide’. With no luck back then, we, I, pretty much put this avenue to rest.


Discovering who had murdered Vincenzo has become an obsession for me. One may ask, what will it really accomplish in learning who he was or even who really cares at this point? I can’t answer except to say this is part of Vincenzo’s story, my families story and it is not complete without this detail.

My great grandmother Nicoletta remained in New York to provide testimony in the trial. Why? What would have been her input? or has this detail morphed over the years. Had she simply remained to be present at the trial just to discover the outcome before returning to Italy to resume her life?

According to the 1910 census taken in April, at some point after Vincenzo’s death, Nicoletta 30, Frank 2, and Giuditta 9/10 moved from 250 W. 26th St and was living with her cousin Giuditta (Civitano) Simone. Giuditta was married to Vito Simone. With them was their children, daughter Mary 2, and Rocco 9/12. There are a few things interesting about this I may have or not noticed/remembered. Having thought she moved in with them, Nicoletta is listed as head of household with the Simone family listed as brother and sister in law with niece and nephew. (Giuditta was actually a 1st cousin to both Nicoletta and her late husband Vincenzo) Had they moved in with her? Nicoletta was working – listed retail merchant – coal wood – employee. Vito was listed – retail merchant – coal wood – owner. Clearly she was working for him. Nicoletta was also listed as Nicoletta Marvulli, her maiden name.

In late April (this year)I emailed the Municipal Archives inquiring on a direction in trying to find the assailant. They reinforced what I already knew and suggested sending me a file with all the criminal cases for the year 1909 to go through. Below is an example of what the down load looked like. And yes the email download records were as tiny as you see. It says: Anderson, Chester Arthur, under his name says deceased Edward Ray ‘offense’ and under that is says homicide.

example of record of cases

They files were listed A – K and L – Z, 900 plus pages with 16 entries per page, some pages blanks and you have a rough idea of the amount of files I had to comb through. It took me days and the need for a magnifying glass. I am so sad to report, I did not find Vincenzo listed. Writing back to the archives I decided to comb through 1910 records thinking perhaps the trial was later considering Nicoletta had remained in New York. I am now in the process of looking at dates – an arrest for assault possibly a few days prior to his death date of the 12th, thinking he may have been attacked and did not pass until the 12th.

I am pleased to say that I have had a wonderful response from the Archive staff. In fact ‘Cristina Stubbe’ has contacted me after I reported I have had no luck and am stumped, to let me know she is going through the 1909 and 1910 boxes of records for me to see if she can locate anything that way. Along with that she suggested writing to the Manhattan District Attorney (which I have done) to see if they have records from back then. I have written to the ‘records access officer’ under the FOIL heading, Freedom Of Information Law and hope to hear something positive back from them.

Once again, my fingers are crossed and I am hopeful that I will eventually be able to answer the question

Who killed my Great Grandfather Vincenzo Civitano

Domenica Caso and Vincenzo Locorriere

Preparing to write this first post of 2022, I did a quick look back at my posts for this past year. My first posting was on Feb 1. In that post I had been contacted by a 3rd cousin, Joseph Eckhardt, the grandson of Domenica (Caso) and Vincenzo Locorriere. Joseph had found the blog and wanted to share a few photo’s of his grandparents with me. I had researched and written about this branch before but in this posting of 2021, I was thrilled to share these two photo’s below and update about this family. Domenica Margharita, known as Margaret, was the daughter of Rita Edith Marvulli and Gaetano Caso. Rita was sister to my great grandmother Nicoletta (Marvulli) Civitano.

Shortly before Christmas, I heard from Guy Caso, who has graciously shared many family photo’s with me over the last few years. He had made a visit to Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, New Jersey to pay his respects to his parents, Gaetano T. (Guy) Caso and his wife Elizabeth Panacciulli. While he was there he located the graves of Vincenzo and Domenica Locorriere and sent me this photo.

It is quite serendipitous to be starting the year 2022 again with a posting of Vincenzo and Domenica. May their memory be a blessing to their family and friends.

May we remember with reverence and admiration the courage, fortitude and sacrifice of those who came before us and honor their hopes and dreams with always remembering them and sharing their stories.

Memorial Day Remembrance: Peter Marvulli/Marvilli and Joseph Civitano

I have been working for some time on compiling a book of records on the military service for the men and woman in our extended Civitano family. I am far from completing this task.

With Memorial Day 2021 here I wanted to take a moment to reflect and remember the sacrifice and great service to our country by these two men.

Peter Marvilli

7 June 1923 ~ 28 May 1944

PVT US ARMY WORLD WAR II

Died In Action

Co. I 6th Armored Infantry 1st Armored Division

Peter was laid to rest at Cypress Hills National Cemetery 10 August 1948, Brooklyn, New York

Peter was the son of John (Giovanni) Marvilli/Marvulli and Maria Fazio. Peter was brother to Thomas, and 1/2 brother to Dominick, Rocco, Rosa and Joseph.

Joseph Civitano

7 August 1922 ~ 8 December 1944

PVT US ARMY WORLD WAR II

Died In Action

114th Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Division

Joseph rests at Epinal American Cemetery France

Joseph was the son of Frank and Mary Civitano. He was brother to Joseph, Antonette, Moneantonette, and Leonora.

MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE A BLESSING

  • If you are a family member reading this and you can help me in identifying any other family members we have lost in battle, I would appreciate hearing from you

2020 ~ A Year in Review

Heading into 2021 I wanted to take a look back at this year and all the amazing discoveries and connections I was so fortunate to make. There were times I felt stuck on what direction to go and ideas but so many family members came through and shared thoughts and photos. With your help, our families stories are being told and preserved. Thank you for helping me tell our story.

In January I asked the question in “Can You Identify Us” with this photo.

Above left to right back : my grandmother Katie Civitano (aka Catherine Langellotti), her sister Rita Stalupi (Langellotti), Teresa Langellotti (Venerose -wife of Arthur Frank Langellotti, Katie and Rita’s brother) Front: Vincent Civitano (my father) my great grandmother Filomena Langellotti (DeLellis), and Bernard Tanzillo (son of their sister Emily langellotti Tanzillo, deceased)

This posting led me to being contacted by a 2nd c 1x removed who was able to give me the answer to who the man in the white pants and shirt was. This was Frank Tanzillo husband of Emily, father of Bernard.

There was this gorgeous wedding photo shared with me by my 3rd cousin Toni. Identified in the this photo is from Lt to Rt seated: Rosa (Marvulli) D’Attoma (sister to the bride), Vera (Marvulli) D’Attoma, Maria Covito, Rosa (DiGirolamo) Caso standing: John D’Attoma (brother to the groom) Angelo D’Attoma, Antonio Scici, and Gaetano Caso (Rosa D. husband)

One of my favorite photo’s was of Lucia DiGirolamo & Giuseppe Marvulli shared with me by Vita Andreoli

1904 – 1905

In this photo, Lucia is actually pregnant with daughter Vera Vita and seated, buckled in is daughter Rose. Tragically Lucia passed away 11 June 1908, three years after the birth of Rose in Grumo Appula, Italy.

Michael Caso and Rose DiGirolamo grandson Guy shared with me an amazing story about Robert Caso, my 2nd cousin 1x removed who solved a 70 year old mystery of the the Warren Family. Dan Pontbriand wrote the book ‘The Missing Ones’ A True Story detailing Robert’s never ending search to discover what happened to the parents of two young boys who disappeared on July 3rd 1929 never to be heard from again

Then there were these amazing photo’s shared with me of three siblings and the only known photos at this time of them together. It was also our families first real glimpse of Angelina Civitano nee Marulli.

And who can forget the stranger, jogging through Calvary to bring flowers to his own special person only to pass by the grave stone of Grazia Marvulli and decide to leave the flowers for her instead. Once home he decided to try and research her and came across the blog with her story. From there he wrote to me, sharing this photo. What an act of kindness.

Michael Caso was born 26 Oct 1892 Grumo Appula, Italy and passed away in Dec 1975 in New York. His wedding photo is above with Rose DiGirolamo. Michael had a very unique talent and art form – a message in a bottle. Many family members remember these interesting pieces of art ~ thankfully preserved by his grandchildren. Thankful to Guy Caso for sharing these amazing pieces.

I absolutely swooned over this photo of my grandfathers sister, Julia (Giuditta) Forese nee Civitano. From the headband to the double strand of pearls, the bouquet with with steaming ribbons and ? flowers tied to the ends, the cut of the hem to the tips of her shoes…I couldn’t have been more blessed to receive this from one of her granddaughters.

I began the year with this wonderful photo of Domenico Civitano son of Vito Luigi Civitano brother of my great grandfather. This photo was originally shared on Ancestry by the Paglia Family. I had written “I love everything about this photo, from the little hands on dad’s shoulders to the knickers and leggings on down to the shoes. All the boys look darling in their hats and dad Domenico looks quite handsome in his. Believing the youngest boy is about 3, that would be Onofrio born in 1917 placing the photo about 1920. Frank would be next, born in 1915, Dominic born 1913 and the oldest, Louis born 1911 which would make him about 9.”

Guy Caso, son of Gaetano Caso, grandson of Michael Caso shared many wonderful photo’s and his fathers story with me. Geatano recently passed in 2018.

So many wonderful discoveries and mysteries too. Like the discovery of my great grandmothers Immigration card shared with me by my cousin Isabella. I am still baffled by the last name of Palumbo on her card. Nicoletta had a known second marriage to Nicholas Gisondi/a which does not appear on her card, but there is no knowledge of another marriage with this name.

Checking in with my cousin Peter Marino and his page on Ancestry I discovered that a Donata Civitano had married a Vito Domenico Palumbo sometime in the beginning of 1800’s. So Palumbo/Palummo is a Grumo family name. How and why she has this on her card will remain a mystery for now.

A collage of more photos shared

I can’t say thank you enough to every one who contacted me through out 2020. I made many family connections, connecting via email and phone. It made a terrible stressful year seem like a piece of cake, delicious and sweet.

Graziella Marvulli ~ an Act of Kindness ~ Caso and Marvulli Families revisited

I have been spending a considerable amount of time with the Marvulli family lately. Much of it prompted by recent connections to family members from this branch. I have been blessed with cousins commenting and sharing stories and photos helping to give us a well rounded glimpse into the lives of our ancestors.

Yesterday, I had a very unusual but wonderful email a man named Giovanni D’Amato from Brooklyn. Giovanni wrote

Hello,
My name is Giovanni D’Amato. I want to let you know that earlier today August 22, 2020 I went for a jog through the cemetery from my home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A particular grave stone caught my eye…I don’t know why, but it just did. It was the grave stone of Graziella Marvulli. I had brought with me flowers that I intended to bring to the chapel but I felt captivated by the stone and photo of Grace. I left the flower at the tombstone. I then got home and googled the name and your family blog popped up. 

After a brief exchange of emails, he shared the photo with me and gave me permission to post it.

What a blessing and I couldn’t be more thankful to Giovanni and pleased to be able to share this with you.

GraziaMarvulli5

Giovanni also shared he is a first generation, his family only arriving in 1973. He also pointed out that the stone was in Italian. Something I may not have initially have noticed or ignored. The stone reads:

Erected by Giovanni Marvulli in memory of his wife Graziella Marvulli born Nov. 20, 1879 died Sept 1, 1916 Dear Wife Maria Marvulli born 5 May 1885 died 30 March 1955 1924 Grace 1925 Beloved Father Giovanni Marvulli May 9 1875 Jan 22 1959 

Graziella Marvulli1

Grazia and John married in 1901 in Grumo Appula. Their first son, Dominick was born in Grumo in 1902. Grazia immigrated in 1905 under her maiden name of Scarola, joining her husband who had arrived in 1903. Their 2nd son Rocco was born in 1906, followed by Giuseppe born 1907 – who passed away in 1909. Their only daughter Rosa was born in 1908 and last son Joseph was born in 1909. Sadly, seven years after Joseph’s birth Grazia passed away.

It wasn’t until 1922 that John married Maria Fazio. They had son’s Peter born 1923 and Thomas born in 1926. Only daughter Grace was born in 1924 and passed one year later  in 1925. (buried along with her parents)

Most recently I have had the great pleasure in hearing from and connecting with the daughter of Thomas, son of John and Maria. She shared with me this wonderful photo.

Marvilli,JohnWithsonThomas & ? copy

John Marvulli in the middle, Thomas on the right, the other two unknown at this time. I suspect the other male is one of Johns sons and a granddaughter. Any help in identifying them is always welcomed.

You may remember from other postings this wonderful photo of John with his two sisters, Angelina and Nicoletta (my great grandmother)

Family-2 copy

Nicoletta, John and Angelina ~ A priceless photo of the love and laughter with a little help of homemade wine.

Again, most recently, Guy Caso shared this wonderful photo of Michele Caso, son of Rita Marvulli – sister of those three laughter filled siblings above. (the back of Michele’s head is visible in the above photo.

Caso,Micheleinfrontofhishouse28 St Astoria copy

Photo is taken in front of his home 28th St., Astoria, Queens

A big thank you to Giovanni for contacting me and sharing his story and remembrance of sweet Grazia and placing the flowers at her grave. Thank you to all my distant cousins for helping me share our families story.

thank-you2

Robert G. Caso Revisited

Robert G. Caso, known as Bob, was my 2nd cousin 1x removed. I never knew Bob and only recently discovered we lived within 150 miles of each other.

I wrote about Bob in a May postings of this year, highlighting his life and the fact that he played an intricate role in solving a 75 year old mystery about a missing couple in 1929 in the Port Angeles, WA area. You can access that post by clicking here Robert G. Caso ~ Solves a 75 Year Old Mystery

The Caso branch is from Grumo Appula and married into the Marvulli branch also originating in Grumo. Rita Marvulli married Gaetano Caso in 1885 immigrating by the 1900’s. (Rita was the sister to my great grandmother Nicoletta). But DeLellis and Langellotti branches please don’t feel left out as the Bob Caso’s story is as much yours  because it all started as far back as about 1760 in San Gregorio, Caserta and Grumo, Bari with Caso’s and D’Amico’s, DeLellis and Langellotti’s all mingling and marring one another.

The Begots: Pietro D’Amico and Elisabetta Caso had daughter Caterina D’Amico who married Vincenzo DeLellis son of Giovanni DeLellis and Elisabetta Ciccarelli and they had Teresa DeLellis who married Gabriele Antonio Langellotti . They had Vincenzo DeLellis who married Maria Maddalena Ferritto which brought me to Joseph Langellotti marrying Filomena DeLellis (my great grandparents) intertwining these branches.

When I had connected with a 3rd cousin, Guy Caso, he shared with me the amazing story of Bob and the role he played in finding a missing couple from 1929, WA and that a book had been written about it, I had to purchase it. Below is the cover for the book written by  Dan Pontbriand  The Missing Ones – A True Story 

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It is truly an amazing story about a couple with 2 young boys. The Mom had been in the hospital. Dad left them with neighbors and went to fetch Mom and bring her home, promising the boys the following day they would attend the 4th of July celebration in the near by town. They never returned and were never found. Speculation of what happened spread, searches were conducted but yielded little to no evidence and their disappearance remained a mystery. The setting is on the magnificent Olympic Peninsula within the Olympic Nat’l Park of Washington State and Lake Crescent. Dan Pontibriand weaves a detailed tale leading up to their being found, including the history of the area, the people who settled it, and one mans obsession and mission (Bob’s) to discover what happened to Blanche and Russell Warren.

In addition there are wonderful photo’s along with a few of Bob. Copyright law prevents me from sharing them but if you have any interest in delving deeper into this story, the story of one of our fellow family members, I recommend this book.

Celebrating Family

Caso, Marvulli, D’Attoma Branches

Caso:MarvulliFamilyGatheringPhoto courtesy of Toni Fraticelli

left to rt seated: Rita Fraticelli (Caso), Vera D’Attoma (Marvulli), Rose D’Attoma (Marvulli), Michael Caso, Rose Caso, on lap Lucy D’Attoma (Vera’s daughter), unknown friend. 2nd row: Angelo D’Attoma (Vera’s husband), Guy Caso, Elizabeth Caso (Panacciulli), Elizabeth’s Uncle, Elizabeth’s brother Frank Panacciulli, woman with glasses another Panacciulli family member. In Middle: man with glasses white hair and woman next to him are Elizabeths parents Antonio and Antonia Panacciulli. Back row: John D’Attoma (Rose’s husband), Giuseppe Marvulli, Antoinette D’Attoma, Joe Panacciulli, Toni, John D’Attoma.

This timely photo was shard with me by my 3rd cousin who I have recently connected with through this blog. Timely, because, Toni shared it was taken in the spring, possibly on Palm Sunday. Looking at the photo closely you can see a plant in the center of the crowd and the table is filled with an array of baked goods, dessert, traditional for Palm Sunday and Easter. The picture was taken by Anthony Fraticelli, Toni’s father who was an amateur photographer. The family was gathered at the home of her grandparents Michael Caso and Rosa DiGirolamo, who I have been featuring these last few postings. Their home was located at 37-21 28th St, Astoria, Queens, N.Y., a frequent gathering place for their growing branch as the basement featured a full kitchen with seating for all.

Gathering together to celebrate life and family was not only a tradition but a must for all our extended families. My branch gathered together also, to raise their glasses to say ‘all vostra salute’

Familypicnic2

 

I am imagining all our branches gathering together and this is by far not all of us

But as we gather this Easter 2020, or I should say as we stay sheltered in place during this Easter Sunday, so many of us alone, not by choice but necessity of this pandemic, as the years have gone by and family gatherings like these have become less and less common, remembering and celebrating our ancestors has taken on a broader and more important meaning to me. Whether we have separated by time, place, or ideas that don’t line up, we are those who came before us with their hopes and dreams becoming our hopes and dreams, we are not alone. 

 

Below is one of my favorite photos of my family taken at our last gatherings when all of my children were together, with their children, add four more grands born since, and then add 6 more to that photo, 1 on the way, the grands with their own children, spanning the country from Oklahoma, Alaska, California, Oregon, Texas, Illinois and Okinawa, Japan.

4            Yucca Valley, CA, 1996 

From my home to yours, from my family to your family

Easter6

A very special thank you to Toni for reminding me of just how precious our family is  

Message In A Bottle ~ Michele Caso

 

6 copy                      Photo’s curtesy of the Gaetano Jr. Caso Family

You might be wondering what in the world is this a photo of? This is an amazing art form and one that might be remembered by family members, perhaps still talked about. You may be wondering who was that person that did those religious scene in the bottle? The answer was Michele (Michael) Caso (1892 – 1975), the husband of Rosa DiGirolamo.

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Michael made these wonderful religious diorama’s in a bottle, how many or how many have survived, I don’t know. But I can imagine coming across one in an antique store, wondering, who was this man, this person who captured his faith in a bottle?

Michele Caso was the son of Gaetano Caso and Rita Marvulli.

He was the grandson of Michele Caso born 1839, Binetto, Bari, Italy ~ died Sept. 23, 1901 Grumo Appula, Bari, Italy and Domenica Verni born June 1, 1834, Sannicandro, Bari, ~ died June 19, 1883 Grumo Appula. Michele’s profession was a calzolaio which is a cobbler/shoemaker.

Due to the impeccable research by my Civitano cousin Peter Marino, we have wonderful documentation to support this family and I would like to share this information on his grandparents.

Birth Certificate for Michele Caso ~ 1839 

Birth Certificate - Michele Caso (1833) p.1

Birth Certificate - Michele Caso (1833) p.2

Birth Certificate - Michele Caso (1833) p.3

 

 

Domenica Verni was the daughter of Giuseppe Verni and Vita Maria Racanelli both born in Sannicandro, Bari, Italy. Domenica was born June 1, 1834, Sannicandro.

Domenica’s Birth Certificate ~ 1834

Birth Certificate - Domenica Verni p.1

Birth Certificate - Domenica Verni p.2

Birth Certificate - Domenica Verni p.3

Michele married Domenica Verni on February 13, 1858, Grumo Appula, Italy

Marriage Certificate ~ 1858

Marriage Certificate - Michele -3

Marriage Certificate - Michele -4

Domenica died on June 19, 1883 in Grumo Appula and Michele married almost immediately on August 30, 1883 to Angela Ceci.

Marriage Certificate for Michele Caso and Angela Ceci

Marriage Certificate - Michele -5

Marriage Certificate - Michele -6

What we know about Angela is that she was born August 5, 1847 in Cassano Delle Murge, Bari, Puglia, Italy. She was the daughter of Michele Ceci and Grazia Capriuplo. Angela was 36 at the time of her marriage and Michele was 50 years old.

There is only documentation for 1 child born to Michele and Domenica, which was Gaetano (1864) who our line has been following. Gaetano was already 19 by the time his mother Domenica died and had no need for care so my first question for the marriage is ~ was there younger children, siblings for Gaetano and that was the reason for Michele to remarry so quickly?  Another question for me is ~ did Michele and Angela go on to have more children together? I don’t have those answers proven. Michele Caso passed away in 1901 at the age of 68 in Grumo Appula and Angela went on to live another 20 years passing in 1921 in Grumo also. There is, another researcher on ancestry who is also following this family and has posted additional children along with their spouses for both Domenica and Angela however, none of the information is documented or supported so at this time my questions will continue to go unanswered.

But this posting is really about Michele (Michael) Caso who fashioned this unique religious diorama that had been shared with me by his 2x great grandson.

This religious scene in a bottle has a timely message for many of us as we face this Corona Virus pandemic sweeping our world, our country today. It reminds us to turn to our higher power (of choice), turn to our individual faith that sees us through our daily lives, what ever that may be. As we face the unknown, the uncertainty of times, let us remember turn to that which can see us through.

Stay safe and healthy, spread calm and reassurance. Share a smile, a kind word and check in on friends and family whenever you can.

 

 

Gaetano (Guy) Thomas Caso Sr.

For Wordless Wednesday last week I shared the photo of Gaetano (Guy) Thomas Caso. (below) It has been the highlight of my week as he continues to share more of his fathers ‘story’ along with more photo’s. Before going any further I want to say a big thank you to the Guy Caso family for sharing with me all the wonderful photo’s in this posting and  allowing me to share them with you.

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Gaetano Thomas Caso was my 2nd c 1x removed, born September 10, 1923 in New York. He was the middle child of 3 children born to Michele (Michael) Caso and Rosa DiGirolamo. Rita was born in 1922 and Vita (Vera) born in 1932.

Gaetano, under the name of Guy Thomas Caso, served in WWII with the 147th NCB: Naval Construction Battalion in Okinawa, Japan. He was a Machinists Mate Second Class (CB) He served from January 4, 1943 and was honorably discharged on February 9, 1946. He was 20 years old when he entered the Navy.

Guy Thomas Caso

Gaetano in front of Dominick and Ritas house NYC copy                   photo in front of his parents home

WWII Draft Registration Card – Ancestry.com

44027_09_00037-01741

Guy was a SeaBee during the war. The Seabee’s are part of the Construction Battalion of the Navy, they were deployed to Okinawa to build airstrips and fueling tanks to allow a safe distance for an invasion of Japan ” he went on to say “my father told me that this job was very difficult. He had to operate heavy equipment with his M1 Carbine strapped to him and was under constant sniper fire.”

 

Gaetano and his M1 Carbine Okinawa copy

From the Seabee Museum and Memorial Park, North Kingston, Rhode Island

“On December 28, 1941,  Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks (BUDOCKS), requested specific authority to activate, organize, and man a unique, very special organization that would support the Navy and Marines in remote locations and defend themselves if attacked — the Naval Construction Battalions. On January 5, 1942,  he was given that authority and the original Battalions were formed at a new Naval base in Davisville, Rhode Island.

The first naval construction unit to actually deploy from the United States left Davisville, Rhode Island, less than two weeks later on January 17, 1942. It was designated the First Construction Detachment. The 296 men arrived at Bora Bora on February 17, 1942. ”

https://www.seabeesmuseum.com/seabee-history

You can read about the Seabee’s at the link above

Guy on some of the heavy equipment

 

Dad building aircraft landing strips copy

Before being deployed Guy was part of the Navy’s Marching band. A drummer, he continued his love of music when  “he formed a quartet and got to play at the officers’s club to fill up some of the down time” Guy  told me.

 

Gaetano in Okinawa copy

 

Honorable discharge certificate copy

Back side Honorable discharge copy

Guy’s story does not end with his service to his country nor did it start there. Sharing a few of the memories with his son, Guy shared that his father had told him that his Uncle was an ice man, and that he helped him on his ice route sometimes. Without knowing who he meant exactly, as quite a few of the men in the family delivered ice/coal, Guy’s age does seem to line up/point to that ‘uncle’ may have been my grandfather, Frank Civitano. Looking at the other men in business during that time, they all had sons in the right age group to help out their fathers with the exception of Frank’s son, Vincent, my father, under ten during that time. But it’s just a guess at this point. As a young boy Guy Sr. also shared that his father (Michele) had given him a shoe shine box filled with polish. He would go to the local Irish bars and shine shoes for extra money for the family. Guy Jr. wonders if this might have contributed to his fathers love of corned beef and cabbage 🙂

In 1947 a year after his discharge from the Navy, Gaetano (Guy) Thomas married Elizabeth Panacciulli. Elizabeth was the daughter of Antonio Panacciulli and Antonia Albanese.

Below ~ the parents of Elizabeth and Guy Thomas

3 copyAntonia & Antonio Panacciulli and Rosa & Michael Caso

Work was sparse, so Guy joined forces along side his sister Vita’s husband, Donald Andreoli. They tried their hand at various jobs including an egg route, selling Christmas tree’s, waxing floors, any odd job that could be found. Eventually they bought a Good Humor Ice-cream truck along with some good routes. Guy. says he can remember the truck parked in the garage at his home. Who didn’t love the Good Humor ice-cream man?  It was one of the best parts of my childhood summer memories.

*add on to original post, family members have expressed that it was a Howard Johnson’s ice cream truck.

His luck turned when a friend suggested he check into the Stagehand Union as a replacement, they were always looking for extra people, so he did. This lead led to a life long career within this industry. Guy worked the 1964/65 NY World Fair, Radio City Music Hall, NBC, ABC, CBS. He built scenery for the Metropolitan Opera House during the day and at night he would work on numerous Broadway shows. He retired in 1987 at the age of 64. 

Gaetano (Guy) Thomas Caso Sr. passed away on July 1st, 2018 at the age of 94.

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May his memory be a blessing

I would again like to say thank you to Guy Caso family for sharing so willingly the story of his father and his branch of the family and the wonderful family photo’s.