Daniel Donato DiRocco passed away Nov. 9, 2013, at his home in South Williamsport. Daniel was born in Williamsport on Oct. 25, 1918, the eldest son of Marino DiRocco and Marina (D'Orazio) DiRocco, who emigrated to the United States from Castiglione Messer Raimondo, Abruzzo, Italy.
Known as "Uncle" Danny to his large extended family, his childhood was filled with fascinating events and adventures. He grew up at 315 W. Jefferson St., or "Hollywood," as it was named by the locals who lived there.
At thirteen, his father declared him an adult and told him it was now time to help his father take care of his mother, sisters, and younger brothers. That charge Uncle Danny would keep for the next 82 years.
Daniel Donato DiRocco
As a young boy, his duties around the home included retrieving, cutting and splitting six cords of firewood per year with just an axe and crosscut hand saw. More amazing, was that in the summer he had to dive to the bottom of the Susquehanna River, tie-off water logged lumber, swim back to the shore and pull the logs up. At night, after his father finished work, they would carry the logs home to dry out. This is just one of the tasks that he had to perform as the eldest son.
A graduate of Williamsport High School, he chose carpentry as his profession. He worked for Jacob Gehron Company, Lundy Construction and retired from Avco Lycoming as a carpenter and millwright.
On April 30, 1946, Uncle Danny married Mary Ann Stout from Antes Fort. They celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary this past April. Both he and Mary Ann were lifelong members of Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church.
He built a new home for Mary Ann and himself in the early 1970's. Laboring after work and on weekends, he built almost the entire home himself, including the kitchen cabinets.
Uncle Danny was an avid gardener and processed much of his produce. In fact, he was a very good cook, who relied on the recipes his mother brought with her from Abruzzo. He often jokingly stated, "People come from miles around to watch me cook." He was an voracious reader and enthusiastically studied Italian history. He was proud to be of Italian descent and a first generation Italian-American. But he was most proud of his parent's homeland of Abruzzo.
Uncle Danny became the de-facto patriarch for the entire DiRocco family. Whether your last name was DiRocco, D'Orazio, Marchioni, Fagnano, Poretta, Lambert or Stout, if you were related, he knew you and loved you. He was known and loved by hundreds of nieces, nephews, cousins and their offspring. They all knew him and amazingly he knew and remembered all of them. He was the "glue," the "hub," and the binding force that kept all the relatives connected, even to his last days. It was a promise to his father that he always kept.
Daniel Donato DiRocco was predeceased by his parents, Marino and Marina DiRocco; sisters, Mafalda DiRocco (infant), Iolanda (child), Ann (Saundina) Poretta, Lillian (Liliana) Marchioni, Phyllis (Filina) Grafius; brother, Anthony DiRocco (Philadelphia); nephews, Daniel Lambert and Albert (Bucky) Lambert; and brother, Kenneth Romeo DiRocco's wife, Beverly Mae (Walters) DiRocco.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mary Ann (Stout) DiRocco; sister, Viola (Iolanda) Marchioni; and his brother, Kenneth Romeo DiRocco.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, 702 W. Fourth St., on Friday morning at 10 a.m. Rev Brian VanFossan will officiate. Friends may call at the Crouse Funeral Home, 133 E. Third St., Williamsport, on Thursday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. Burial will be in Wildwood Cemetery.