Joseph Perricone Caltagirone passed away on February 6, 2020, at the age of 93; he would have celebrated his 94th birthday on February 24. He was a devoted member of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America for 70 years.
His earliest membership was with La Nuova Sicilia Unita Lodge #1251, the oldest lodge in Florida. He was the editor of their newsletter "Avanti" for many years as well as an officer and state delegate. He used his architectural expertise and was instrumental in remodeling the lodge's massive hall.
In 1990, Joe and a group of other Italian Americans formed another lodge in the Tampa Bay area called Loggia Mona Lisa #2699; Joe was one of its charter members and was very instrumental in forming the lodge. He continued his support of the Order and became a lodge officer and a state delegate to conventions. Joe was also the editor of the lodge's newsletter, "La Luce."
By profession, Joe was an architectural draftsman and retired at the age of 80 as a senior architectural design detail specialist draftsman. He played a major role in helping to restore the L'Unione Italiana building in Ybor City, which is now a historical landmark. Joe's love for his heritage and culture is also proudly displayed through his design of the mausoleum at the L'Unione Italiana Cemetery.
During his entire life, Joe dedicated his time and expertise of Italian history and culture to give talks to many organizations about the Italian/Sicilian influence in Ybor City. He was very proud of his Sicilian ancestry and would eventually become his family's historian.
Joe was very proud of his years in the U.S. Navy where he served his country during WWII. Seaman First Class Caltagirone was a parachute rigger and a night flyer squadron target-plane observer. He was one of the last living WWII veterans and a true patriot. For the past 40 years, Joe had initiated a Memorial Day tribute to veterans whereby a wreath was placed at the Italian Club cemetery's veteran monument to honor all veterans lost in WWII.
Joe is survived by the love of his life, Dora Scolaro Caltagirone, his wife of 71 years.
Joe was a man of honor; he brought honor to his family and the community in which he lived and served; he especially earned the respect of so many people.