Sunday, July 27, 2014
Alphonse “Buck” Iannacone of Westport, a 61-year supporter of the Westport Police Athletic League where he was a devoted volunteer, died July 25 in Norwalk Hospital. He was 88.
Iannacone, husband of the late Florence Esposito Iannacone, served as grand marshal of the Westport Memorial Day parade in 2012.
As he sat in the reviewing stand that year, he said, “I tell you I have tears in my eyes. A lot of people have come out today, and so many are saying thank you, thank you.”
Iannacone said then that his legs still bothered him. The unyielding pain of war, he noted, is the reason he received the Purple Heart and a ribbon with one Battle Bronze Star after taking a blast of shrapnel during the Battle of the Bulge.
The injury had been serious enough to lay him up eight months in a British hospital, he said.
“This day reminds me of all the guys who didn’t come home,” Iannacone said, staring out at the seemingly endless stream of World War II and Korean Conflict veterans, first responders and others who serve.
Born Feb. 6, 1926 in Norwalk, he was the son of the late Sebastian and Gesomina Iannacone. He had been a Westport resident 61 years.
Prior to retiring in 1971, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 20 years, including 10 years as president of the Norwalk Local Postal Union.In May 1944, prior to graduation, he left Norwalk High School and enlisted in the U.S. Army.
After his World War II injury, he received a medical military discharge. He was a member of Westport’s Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post No. 399.
Fifty-six years later in 2001, he and five other World War II veterans donned their caps and gowns and walked across the stage to receive the high school diploma they never thought they would see.
In 2005, he was honored by the Norwalk Old Timers Athletic Association and received the annual Sportsmen Award. In 2009, he served as the grand marshal for Westport’s Festival Italiano.
In 2010, the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance presented him with the John Wentworth Good Sport Award for his unselfish dedication in local sports. In 2012, he served as grand marshal for the Westport Memorial Day parade.
He was also a member of Saugatuck Hose Co. No. 4 Volunteer Fire Department, Norwalk Laurel Athletic Club, and a volunteer for countless number of organizations, including the Special Olympics and Star.
Of the many accolades he received and of all the organizations he was involved with, the one closest to his heart was the Westport PAL.
He first joined in 1953 as a football coach, and 61 years later, as their oldest active member, he has done just about everything else since then.
Traveling to Denver in 2008, he was honored and received the prestigious National PAL Award for his many years of volunteerism.
Survivors include his son, Robert (and Kim) Iannacone of Westport, his daughter, Susan Halpern of Myrtle Beach, S.C., his sister, Eleanor DeLallo of Norwalk, his five grandchildren, Lee (and Laura) Halpern, Stacey (and Nate) Clemens, Mark (and Shannon) Halpern, Kellie and Zachary Iannacone, and four great grandchildren, Jaxon, Luciano, MJ, and Brinley Halpern.
He was predeceased by his brother, Alexander Iannacone, four sisters, Antonette Coppola, Millie Gisolfi, Rosie Letizia, and Mary Iannacone, and son-in-law, Barry Halpern.
Services will take place on Wednesday, July 30 at 9:30 a.m. at the Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East, and at 10 a.m. at Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Ave., Westport for a Mass of Christian Burial.
Interment with full military honors will follow at Assumption Cemetery, Kings Highway North, Westport. Friends may visit the family Tuesday, July 29 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Harding Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Westport PAL Scholarship Fund In Memory of Buck Iannacone. Checks can be mailed to Westport PAL c/o Sam Arciola, 50 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880.
To leave an online condolence, please visit http://www.hardingfuneral.com.