Samuel "Sal" Anthony Prestigiacomo, 97, of Newport Beach, California, passed away on Monday, January 11, 2021 with the love and support of his family, and his son Giovanni by his side.
He was born on June 16, 1923 in Dolgeville, New York and was the son of the late, Faro and Vincenza (Di Piazza) Prestigiacomo. Sal was educated at Dolgeville Central Schools and graduated with the Class of 1941. His vivid memories of growing up in the beautiful Adirondacks were filled with wonderful times in spite of the Depression and other challenges of the 1920’s and ‘30’s. Quite often he would comment on how lucky he was to have grown up in Dolgeville.
In January of 1943, Sal enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he earned the rank of Lance Corporal. Following boot camp at Perris Island, SC he attended infantry school at Camp Lejeune, NC earning his Infantry Rifleman Marksmanship Medal. From there he was oddly attached to the 4th Parachute Battalion after earning his “Jump Wings” doing multiple low and high altitude jumps while attending the Army’s Advanced Airborne School at Fort Bragg, NC. However, as the theaters of WWII changed, the islands of the south Pacific had become a significant focus of the war effort and the Marine Corps abandoned airdrops in favor of amphibious landings. The 4th Parachute Battalion was disbanded and Sal found himself preparing for one of the most historic battles of WWII being assigned to the 5th Marine Division. At Camp Pendleton, CA and with the final preparation at Camp Tarawa, HI, Sal landed on the black sand beaches of Iwo Jima on February 19th, 1945. Carrying a heavy Browning automatic rifle, tripod, ammo, and his field backpack he fought with his brethren of C-1-26 and was wounded on his 9th day after landing. He recovered in California, was awarded the Purple Heart for his sacrifice and several Pacific theater medals while serving his country. In April of 1946, Sal was honorably discharged from the Marines Corps. Sal was a member of the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), the Fifth Marine Division Association and the Iwo Jima Association of America,
Sal worked for many years following the war at the Feldman Company in Los Angeles, California. Caught up in a lay off during the recession of the early 1970’s Sal returned to NY with his family, settled in Geneva and was employed by the United States Post Office as a postal worker in Rochester, New York. He worked for the Post Office for 17 years until his retirement in 1988.
Sal’s lifelong passion for music started at an early age taking lessons and playing both violin and trumpet starting in grade school and singing choir in high school. His love of classical music and especially opera led Sal to become a member of the Rochester Oratorio Society and the Rochester Philharmonic in New York. Auditioning as tenor for a spot with the philharmonic chorus he mistakenly belted out a B Flat note when the conductor had asked him to sing a C note. Despite the mistake the conductor was so impressed he earned the position and sang his first opera, La Traviata at the age of 59. He sang with the philharmonic chorus for 6 more seasons. Following his retirement, he also fulfilled a life-long dream to earn a degree in music graduating with an Associates of Art degree in Music from the Community College of the Finger Lakes at age 70 in 1993.
He was predeceased by his siblings, Antoinette Bush, Frank Prestigiacomo, Joseph Prestigiacomo, Benedict Prestigiacomo, and their spouses; Sal’s former spouse Pauline Soderberg, mother to their children; Dante Prestigiacomo, Alicia Mitchell, and Nancy Lewis.
Sal is survived by former spouse, Marre (Puntenney) Prestigiacomo, mother of his beloved children; Mario Prestigiacomo of Reno, NV, Sabrina Prestigiacomo of Kanab, UT, Giovanni Prestigiacomo and his wife, Vicky of Newport Beach, CA, Michael Anthony Prestigiacomo of Long Beach, CA, Faro Charles Prestigiacomo and his wife, Janice of Danville, CA; 5 grandchildren, Anna Duonolo of Endicott, NY, Chiara Kingwater of Rome, NY, Tomasina Giddings of Poughkeepsie, NY, Mari Prestigiacomo of Los Angeles, and Juli White of Denver, CO; 12 great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews and cousins.
A spring graveside service will be held at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Dolgeville, New York at a time to be announced. The family is being cared for by Roberts Funeral Home, 3 East Faville Avenue, Dolgeville, New York 13329.
Please consider memorial contributions for the Disabled American Veterans by mail to: Disabled American Veterans, Cold Spring, KY 41076 or online at www.dav.org and please note the donation is in Memory of Samuel A. Prestigiacomo.
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