|Birth: ||Feb. 16, 1898|
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
|Death: ||Jan. 5, 1976|
Pietro (Peter) Bruno Barzelogna was the only child of Marco (d 1937) and Maria Quarantotto Barzelogna (d cir 1906). He served as a soldier assigned to the 2nd Italian Army on the Italian Front during World War I. He was wounded at Caporetto (1917) and a gas casualty at Trentino (1916) and on the Isonzo (1916). His decorations from the Kingdom of Italy included the Croce Al Merito Guerra (War Merit Cross, for wounds), the Medaglia Dell Guerra 1915-1918 with 4 silver stars (World War I Service Medal with 4 battle stars), and the Medaglia Della Vittoria Interalleata (World War I Victory Medal). After the Great War, he served as a fireman/ coalman on the SS Presidente Wilson, making numerous North Atlantic crossings, until immigrating through Ellis Island, New York during January 1923, after the Kingdom he defended was overthrown by Fascists and Mussolini seized power. He indicated that he was almost deported back to Italy because of having a severe head cold (not surpising after making a North Atlantic crossing during January) and would certainly be chagrined and indignant if he knew that HIV infected immigrants are being granted entrance into the USA without quarantine today. After immigrating to the USA, he became a truck driver and a professional boxer who fought on the same card as Heavyweight Champion of the World Jack Dempsey. While stationed in Italy, his oldest grandson met an Italian citizen who confirmed that Pietro Barzelogna had also boxed in Italy, had watched a few of his fights, and verified that he had a cast iron jaw and a devastating body punch. During the "Roaring 20's," he worked and lived primarily in Chicago, Illinois. From his first wife, Sophia Cretes, whom he married in Russell County, Virginia, he had no children. While coal mining and living in Dickenson County, Virginia, he married his second wife, Ann Spencer Barzelogna (b 10-11-1913, d 4-13-1991). Their children included Robert Barzelogna (a USMCR and USAF Cold War/ Cuban Missile Crisis/ Vietnam Veteran, b 1-28-1935), Jack Wayne Barzelogna (a USAF Cold War/ Cuban Missile Crisis Veteran, b 3-4-1937, d 10-26-1997), Richard Dean Barzelogna (a Teamster Vice President, b 6-7-1938) and Barbara Ann Barzelogna Humphrey (b 9-30-1940). His daughter (4th living child) spared him from the draft and having to fight for the USA in World War II. He was also grandfather to 9 grandchildren. He was a highly energetic, hard working man who lived by the motto, "Work Hard; Play Hard." He smoked Turkish cigarettes in childhood, switched to filterless Camels after coming to the USA, and smoked until his last trip to the hospital in 1976. He claimed he drank Italian red wine from his baby bottle, and was exceptionally fond of cognac, bourbon, wine and beer. He made his own wine, had many entertaining tales involving the Speak Easies he frequented during the 20's and 30's, and had an enormous tolerance for alcohol. He was the life of many parties, and I witnessed him drink hard on several occasions, but never ever saw him intoxicated. As a young man, he was extremely popular with the fair sex, and if their attention drew Grandma's animosity, he usually responded, "Mama, do you want me to be hateful to that woman just because God blessed her with beauty and she has the good sense to like me?" His Family was extremely important to him, and he won his oldest son an eye operation in a poker game from a doctor who was noted as a sore loser. Before the operation, Grandpa whispered to him, "If you mess up my boy, I'll kill you." He was financially wiped out by the Crash of 1929, but worked hard through the Great Depression, and his oldest son once remarked, "Times were hard, but we never went hungry." As a result, he never trusted banks again, and often hid money within his home in unlikely places like his bed matress. I heard once that there was a time when his coal company got behind on production, it was close to Christmas, and the company initiated a contest to reward the miner who could dig the most tons of coal in 24 hours, with the prize being $500.00, a gold watch and 3 days off. Grandpa entered the contest even after his wife tried to convince him it was futile since most of the miners were much bigger than him in stature. However, he won, my father remembered it as the best Christmas of his childhood, and Grandpa remembered being physically broke and exhausted with it being a very good thing that he got 3 days off to recover his strength. After his lungs deteriorated, he left Clinchcoe, Virginia and subsequently moved to Detroit, Michigan, becoming a heating systems repairman, plumber and printer for Crysler Corporation. After retiring in the early 1960's, he moved to Bunnell, Florida were he lived until he passed away in 1976. After suffering several heart attacks (8 that I could remember), he died of respitory failure aggrivated by black lung and emphazema. I remember him as the Patriarch of the Barzelogna Family; the 1st American Barzelogna; a character who thoroughly enjoyed a good arguement; a man who treasured his family and loved the ocean, a good day of fishing or crabbing, a stiff drink, garlic, professional wrestling (no one could convince him it was fake) and a good meal. He had an unusual palate, and could eat things that would make a billy goat vomit. I never knew any one who loved life and enjoyed living it more than Grandpa Barzelogna. He was a gregarious sort who could enter a given place and have a small army of friends in half a day, but numbered "Red Jeff" Flemming (coal miner), Melvin "Mel" Hatabaugh (US Army World War II veteran, b 7-9-1912, d 4-24-1976)) and Enoch Fillinger (coal miner/ business owner, b 6-1-1900, d 4-11-1978) as his best friends and talked of them often. Rest in Peace, Grandpa. I have never known a man who was more man than you.
LIFE: 77 Years, 10 Months, 20 Days
CAUSE OF DEATH: Emphazema/ Black Lung
PALL BEARERS: Robert Barzelogna, Jack W. Barzelogna, Richard D. Barzelogna, Robert D. Barzelogna, Richard S. Barzelogna, James S. Barzelogna
"I was that which others did not want to be. I went where others feared to go, and did what others failed to do. I asked nothing from those who gave nothing, and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness...should I fail. I have seen the face of Terror; felt the stinging cold of Fear; and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment's Love. I have cried, pained, and hoped...but most of all, I have lived times others would say were best forgotten. At least someday I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was...A Soldier."
George L. Skypeck, CPT, US Army
The Coal Miner's Prayer
Each dawn as we rise, lord we know all to well,
We face only one thing - a pit filled with hell.
To scratch out a living the best that we can,
But deep in the heart, lies the soul of a man.
With black covered faces, and hard calloused hands,
We work the dark tunnels unable to stand.
To labor and toil as we harvest the coals,
We silently pray "lord please harvest our souls".
THE SONG OF THE EMIGRANTS (Il Canto Degli Emigranti)
Wolves have warmed themselves on our fleece and eaten our flesh.
We are the generation of sheep.
Wolves have sheared us to the bone while we protested only to God.
In Time of Peace, we sickened in hospitals or jails.
In Time of War, we were cannon fodder.
We harvested bales of grass, one blade for us, the rest for the wolves.
One day, a rumor spread- there was a vast and distant land where we could live meno male.
Some sheep went and returned, transformed, no longer sheep but wolves and they associated with our wolves.
"We want to go to the vast and distant country," we sheep said, "We want to go."
"There is an ocean to cross," the wolves said.
"We will cross it."
"And if you are shipwrecked and drown?"
"It's better to die quickly than suffer a lifetime."
"There are diseases....."
"No disease can be more horrible than hunger from Father to Son."
And the wolves said, "Sheep, there will be deceivers..."
"You have been deceiving us for centuries."
"Would you abandon the Land of your Fathers? Your Brothers?"
"You who fleece us are not our Brothers. The Land of our Fathers is a slaughterhouse."
In tatters, in great herds, we in pain beyond belief journeyed to the vast and distant land.
Some of us did drown.
Some of us did die of privation.
But for every ten that perished, a thousand survived and endured.
Better to choke in the ocean that be strangled by misery.
Better to deceive ourselves than be deceived by wolves.
Better to die in our own way than to be lower than beasts."
Ferdinando Fontana, 1881
"It is better to live a year as a Lion than a century as a Sheep." (Italian Proverb)
Debbie Queen Lewis, God bless you and thank you for sponsoring this Memorial.
Note: ***PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THE PERSONAL PHOTOS OR PLACE THIS MEMORIAL ON OTHER WEBSITES WITHOUT PERMISSION***
Anna Gaye Spencer Barzelogna (1911 - 1991)*
Jack Wayne Barzelogna (1937 - 1997)*
Created by: Richard S. Barzelogna
Record added: Mar 19, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6270863
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