FAREWELL TO A HERO

 

FAREWELL TO A HERO

 

Date: June 16, 2010
by: Pam Eubanks | News Editor

 
 

GREENFIELD PLANTATION — The last one-and-one-half weeks have been difficult for Greenfield Plantation resident Angela Intoccia.

The house is quieter than usual. Empty.

And the heartache welling inside her is still so raw that leaving home is difficult. Because when she returns, she’s reminded the love of her life won’t be there to kiss.

Her husband, Robert “Bob” Intoccia, died June 7. He was 85 years old.

Born Sept. 14, 1924, Mr. Intoccia was a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. He was buried in the Sarasota National Cemetery June 11.

“He was such a calm, loving man,” Angela said, fighting back tears. “I was blessed to have spent 16 years with him. I have absolutely no regrets. Every time he asked me, I’d come sit and talk with him, and laugh — lots of laughs. The man was just amazing.”

IN THE COMMUNITY
Mr. Intoccia eagerly lent his calm, soothing spirit and sense of humor to East County residents, volunteering three days a week at the front desk of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and also donating blood platelets about every three weeks.

“He had a special place in our hearts, that’s for sure,” said Tracie Smith, charge for Florida Blood Services’ Lakewood Ranch office, where Mr. Intoccia has been donating for several years. “He was genuine and lovable. He was cute, but he had a snicker about him and teased us.”

Mr. Intoccia, she said, would always request a purple armband after donation because it was the favorite color of his granddaughter, Naya Hoffmann.

FAMILY MAN
Mr. Intoccia loved to be outdoors and to laugh, and he possessed a wisdom and calmness to him that always managed to put things into perspective no matter how complicated or upsetting.

“He wanted to help people in any possible way he could,” Angela said. “He was just always there for everybody. He touched so many different lives in different ways.”

He was quiet and even-tempered but passionate. He loved his family fiercely.

When his children were young, Mr. Intoccia spent every weekend out on his boat fishing with his son, Donald, and listening to baseball games on the radio.

“That was always our one-on-one time,” Don Intoccia said, noting his father taught him a strong work ethic and the importance of keeping even-keel. “There was nothing that brought him more joy than all the family being with him.”

TRUE PATRIOT
At 18 years old, Mr. Intoccia was drafted into World War II, serving in both the battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge with the 36th Tank Battalion of the Eighth Armored Division of the U.S. Army. Years later, he joined the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, although he was never sent overseas for that conflict.

“He loved the opportunity to serve his country,” Angela said.

He made sure to display the American flag on patriotic holidays, and every year for the last 23 years, Mr. Intoccia attended a reunion for his World War II unit.

Mr. Intoccia and Angela met about four decades ago while both were working at AT&T in New York. Mr. Intoccia was dating a co-worker at the time, and Angela was married. But through their acquaintances, the two socialized regularly — and became close enough friends that Mr. Intoccia even came over with his girlfriend to celebrate the birth of Angela’s daughter, Marcy Olah.

Angela said she never dreamed one day they’d be married. But after Mr. Intoccia had retired and moved to Florida, the two reconnected, again because of a mutual friend.

The couple married Feb. 13, 1999.

“I’m going to miss my life with him, the solace he provided, the twinkle in his eye and his smile,” Angela said. “He never complained. He taught me how to relax.”

After more than five years of dating and more than a decade of marriage, Mr. Intoccia would still open his wife’s car door and kiss her good morning, goodnight, hello and good-bye, Angela said.

Mr. Intoccia would wake before sunrise each morning and walk more than two miles. Once Marcy, moved to Florida, she joined him for his early-morning exercises before going to work.

“He whipped me into shape,” Marcy said, laughing. “We talked about everything.”

When Marcy’s car broke down or a light didn’t work, Mr. Intoccia was the first person she’d call.

“He’d always joke, ‘I’ll put it on your tab,’” she said. “He was a funny guy, easy to like.”

Mr. Intoccia is survived by his wife, Angela; children, Linda Lanza, Don Intoccia and daughter-in-law Karen; stepchildren Marcy Olah and Sondra Hoffman; and seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Contact Pam Eubanks at peubanks@yourobserver.com.

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