A member of “The Greatest Generation” who sought to preserve the history of World War II has passed away.
Salvatore Jerome Spadafora, 92, of Morris Park, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Dec. 12, surrounded by his family.
Sal was one of the people who helped fellow Morris Park World War II veteran Joe Garafolo coordinate the Bronx Veterans Museum, which collects military memorabilia in the lobby of John Dormi & Sons Funeral Home at 1211 Morris Park Ave.
“He used to come in here every day in the funeral home and he would help take care of the memorial,” said Dormi & Sons funeral director and manager Chris DiCostanzo.
Spadafora served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, and his time in the service saw his marriage to his wife and the love of his life, Fannie in 1944, said his daughter Teresa Alifante. Fannie ran a popular cosmetics store until her passing in 1981, she said.
Spadafora grew up in Belmont, and went to Roosevelt High School. Both his wife and he lived on Cambreleng Avenue and later, after they were married, they moved to Morris Park, and raised a family, his daughter said.
He felt strongly about creating and contributing to the Bronx Veterans Museum with its founder, Garafolo, because he was concerned that people would forget about the sacrifices made by his generation, Teresa said.
“His uniform is there, his hat is there, as well as his father’s picture from World War I,” she said. “I think he felt that not many young people knew about World War II, and was concerned people were going to forget. It was such a great cause, and it was special to him because it was a time when people were defending their country and their liberty.”
His meeting with Garafolo was something that greatly influenced him, she said.
“Joe was a big influence on him and they became very active with the veterans memorial at Dormi’s,” she said. “He was the one who started the album at the museum because he had such beautiful handwriting, and people would give him the photos of their platoon or troop, and he would inscribe all the names on that book.”
She said her father also kept a journal of his experiences while in the service, where he recorded the names and hometowns of the military personnel he served with, as well as books he read and bands he saw.
Later on, he kept a journal of his activities and the life he led after his wife’s passing, said Alifante.
Spadafora was the devoted father of James and Teresa and their spouses, Linda and Augie. He was a generous and supportive grandfather to Nicole, Ann, Jessica and Jamie and the great grandfather or “Goo Goo”, to Avery, Leo, Liam and James.
He loved time with his family, especially summer vacations at the beach, according to a bio. He documented his family’s life in pictures that his family will cherish forever.
On Saturday, December 21 the family will be receiving visitors at Dormi’s Funeral Home on Morris Park Ave. at 9 a.m. There will be a memorial service at St. Francis Xavier Church on Van Nest Ave. at 10 a.m.