Frederick J. Petrarca,
86, of West Warwick passed away on December 31, 2010 at Kent County Memorial Hospital at the side of his loving wife of 62 years Eleanor (Page). Born and raised in Providence, Fred lived in Cranston for many years before moving to West Warwick.
Awarded the Purple Heart and many Campaign medals for service in World War II on the aircraft carrier USS Essex through its many Pacific operations: Marcus, Wake and Gilbert Islands. Tarawa. Kwajelein. The Marshall Islands. Truk. Saipan, Tinian and Guam. The Marianas and Palau Islands. Mindano. Peleliu. Ryukyus. Okinawa. Formosa. Leyte Gulf. Manila and the Northern Philippine Islands.
The Essex was hit by a kamikaze on the port edge of the flight deck landing among planes gassed for takeoff where many were killed and injured. Fred’s combat injuries caused him to be hospitalized for several months in Hawaii before returning to duty to the end of the War. The Essex continued on toward the occupation of Mindoro; the Lingayen Gulf operations. Strikes against Formosa, Sakishima, Okinawa and Luzon, the China coast, Hainan and Hong Kong, Formosa, Miyakp Shima and Okinawa, Toyko and supported the Iwo Jima landings.
In spite of injuries and receiving a Purple Heart, Fred was recalled to active duty to again serve on the Carrier USS Essex in the Far East during the Korean War.
Fred owned a grocery store on Sales Streeet in South Providence as well as a butcher shop in Cranston with his brother Tony. Fred subsequently was employed at the Quonset Naval Air Station until his retirement. Fred was a founding member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Providence. An avid sports fan, Fred's greatest joy was coaching Little League.
Fred was predeceased by his parents, Rosario Joseph and Eularia (Ucci) Petrarca of Providence, along with all of his siblings. His brothers Getulio (and wife Peggy) Anthony (and wife Nilda), Salvator (and wife Jean), Albert, and Domenic (and wife Nora) of West Warwick and Raymond Petrarca of Warwick. His sisters Mary Donahue (and husband Joe) of Cranston, Phyllis Cornicelli (and husband Mike) and Dolores McNeil (and husband Bernie) of West Warwick, Anna Petrarca of North Kingstown and his sister—in-law Barbara Gianfracco (and husband Frank) Fred was the last of a large and loving family that was the epitome of The Greatest Generation.
Fred leaves a brother-in-law, Tom Page of California, sisters-in-law Alice of West Warwick and Joan of Warwick, many, many nieces and nephews who adored him and who knew that he was always there for every member of his family; numerous grand-nieces and grand-nephews, great-grand nieces and great grand-nephews. As Godfather to a dozen young men, Fred had a wide ranging influence on many and will be greatly missed by all that knew and loved him.
Relatives and friends are invited and may call on Tuesday, January 4, 2010 from 8:30 to 9:30 am in THE URQUHART-MURPHY FUNERAL HOME, 800 Greenwich Avenue, Route 5, Greenwood, Warwick (Exit 12A off I-95) with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am in Immaculate Conception Church, 237 Garden Hills Drive, Cranston. Burial will follow in the RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Exeter.
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Urquhart - Murphy Funeral Home
800-812 Greenwich Avenue
Warwick, Rhode Island 02886