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 Amico Giusto (Justin) “Mike” Morrelli

Amico Giusto (Justin) “Mike” Morrelli

Provincia di Isernia, Molise, Italy
Death 6 Jan 1979 (aged 87)
Ogden, Weber County, Utah, USA
Burial Ogden, Weber County, Utah, USA
Plot J-H-20-1W
Memorial ID 100000134 · View Source
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The family name Morelli, was Americanized to Morrelli, upon imigration to the United States. And Amico became "Mike".

Amico "Mike" Giusto (Justin) Morrelli

Amico's Father was Sabatino "Sam" Mariani Morelli born April 30, 1864, in San Pietro Avellana (SPA), Isernia, Molise, Italy to Giusto Natale Federico Morelli and Genova Diletta Frazzino[1]. Sabatino worked as a handyman in Italy. He first came to the United States at age 17 aboard the Ferdinand de Lesseps which arrived at the Port of New York on February 15, 1882[2]. Traveling with him was Sabatino's future father-in-law, Paolo Antonio Morelli. Sabatino returned to SPA where he married Amico's mother, Donata Domenica Morelli. Donata was born February 10, 1867, in SPA, to Paolo Antonio Morelli and Maria Lucia Carlino[3].

Sabatino and Donata had their first child, Amico Giusto, July 23, 1891. Sabatino returned to the United States in 1893 via Canada, and made his way to Utah to work the railroad[4]. He stayed six years and returned to SPA in early 1899. Their second child, Diletta Maria, was born November 28, 1899[5]. Sabatino returned to the United States again aboard the Tartar Prince which arrived at the Port of New York on May 28, 1900[6]. By early 1905, Sabatino had returned to SPA and their third and final child, Lucia L., was born November 21, 1905[7]. He again returned to the United States, this time aboard the Virginia which arrived at the Port of New York on April 25, 1907[8].

Amico was only able to go to the 3rd grade in Italy. At 10 years of age he became an apprentice to a tailor. He worked from sunrise to sunset just for the privilege of learning. The first three years he made nothing, the fourth year 10¢ a day, the fifth year he made 20¢ a day. You can see why he left Italy.

Amico arrived in the USA on May 11, 1908, via the Duca Degli Abruzzi Ship from Naples, Campania, Italy to New York[9]. His dad was living at 260 - 25th Street in Ogden, Utah, when Amico arrived, but Sabatino returned to SPA shortly after to recuperate after he seriously injured his leg. Sabatino remained in SPA until his death in 1943.

Amico was an excellent tailor. He made everything from suits to corsets. He obtained work at a tailor shop but, on Sept 27, 1908, (just four months after his arrival) he met with a most serious accident. He said on the way to work on the street car he heard something say get off the train, but he thought that silly. The train was very crowded so he was on the back of an open car. A switch came open and another train car turned into their car. He was able to get one leg out of the way but the other one was crushed between the two cars.

He entered the hospital Sept 27, 1908, and was not released until Dec. 31, 1910. (The hospital at that time had a 14-bed ward and 14 beds in the attic and a small operating room). Many times he was about to lose his leg but something always happened to save it at the last minute. He had many serious infections. All in all he had 5 operations upon it. One was to put a pin in to hold the bone in place. This was way before any of the antibiotics and at that time the anesthesia was chloroform which is very dangerous and causes death easily.

In July 1911, he had another bout with infection and was again in the hospital for another 40-50 days. As Amico started to get better, they would let him leave the hospital a little during the day. He enrolled at an elementary school (Madison) in the 5th grade. The children at first were shy but later accepted him and were anxious to help him. He was trying hard to learn the English language. At first he could memorize only one or two words a day but by the time the year was up he could memorize 150 a day. He became so well acquainted with the dictionary that if he could not remember a word, he could look it up in his mind. He could find the page and follow the page down until he found the word he was looking for.
After leaving the hospital he found employment at the cannery. He was so efficient at running the boiler that they insisted he run the night shift. He had a record production of 455 cases of beans in one night.

Amico sent money back to his family in Italy every month to help them keep going. He wanted very much for his mother to come and be with him but she was not able to enter the country because she had asthma.

In Oct 1914, he started work at the Dee Hospital which had opened its doors in 1910. He enrolled in a Correspondence course from the International Correspondence School for Engineering, which he completed in nine months. Soon he became head engineer of the hospital.

Amico loved music and played both the clarinet and the mandolin.

On June 20, 1920, Amico married Pasqua Ehlena "Pauline Lena" Lombardi, daughter of Caramuele Lombardi and Maria Lucia Carmosino, at Mt. Carmel Church in Denver, Colorado. Pauline's sister, Stella, gave the wedding dinner but Amico paid for it all.

They bought their first car in 1921, a Chev which cruised at 25 miles per hour, and also got 12 flat tires going to Denver one year. They also had their first child, Virginia, in 1921. Samuel Carmen followed on March 14, 1923, and Gloria Donata on June 30, 1926.

Amico's sister, Diletta, came to the United States in 1927 to join her family. She had married, Emmanuele "Emil" Morelli, on February 14, 1920 in SPA before he migrated to Utah. She was not able to join him for seven years.

In February of 1928, little Gloria caught pneumonia and died on February 14. She was laid to rest in the Ogden City Cemetery in Ogden, Utah.

By 1929 Amico and Pauline had their fourth child, Mary June. In 1934 Amico started to build a new home for his growing family next to the little old house they lived in at 1248 Liberty Ave. He had $400 of his own money; he borrowed $500 from Stella and her husband, Joe, and borrowed $1500 from a lady who was known to foreclose without batting an eye. The house took 15 months to complete. $900 went for foundation, roof and brick. He, along with his son, Sam, who was 12, worked every morning, night, and weekend to build the rest of the house. They did everything. It turned out to be a beautiful 2 bedroom, full basement (with bedroom) brick home (picture to the right). The family was very proud of it. Sam was awarded a new bike for all his diligence which was a very big reward for my Amico to give for he made only $125 a month and was trying to pay for the rest of the house. They did not have long loans then. If he did not pay the lady back within a short period she would foreclose.

In 1940, Amico and Pauline had one more surprise, a baby boy named Michael Paul. Michael was their 5th and last child.

The U.S. officially entered World War II Dec. 8, 1941. At age 19, Amico's eldest son, Sam, joined the Army Reserve Corps on Nov. 27, 1942[10]. When he enlisted, he received a deferment date (an officially sanctioned postponement of compulsory military service) of June 1945 while he attended college. Unfortunately, he must have been needed sooner, as he was sent to the European Area where he died in service of his country on Nov. 18, 1944, at the age of 21. He was awarded a Purple Heart after his death.

On October 13, 1943, Italy officially declared war on Germany. Earlier that year Amico lost both of his parents. They were fortunate not to live to see their beloved village of San Pietro Avellana destroyed by the Germans in November of 1943. His sister, Lucia, and her son, Lorenzo Ferri, were the only immediate family Amico still had living there. Lorenzo was taken as a prisoner by the Germans and Lucia went to the region of Puglie as a refugee. Lucia and her son were reunited 2 years later in Puglie. With the village destroyed and her parents gone, on December 12, 1948, Amico's sister and nephew made the trip to Argentina, Buenes Aires, South America, to join her husband, Alberto Ferri, who had immigrated there almost 20 years earlier[11]. Lucia was only 3 when Amico immigrated to the United States. Although, they did keep in touch, they never saw each other again.

In 1965, after 50 years of service, Amico retired from the Dee hospital. In the time he was there, the hospital had grown from 40-bed facility to a 275-bed complex[12]. In March 1975 he entered the hospital for an operation on his lower bowel. The Dr. was sure that it was cancerous. He was 84 at the time. His family prayed up a storm and they found it nonmalignant. They removed the tumor and Amico did quite well considering his age.

As the years rolled on Amico's arthritis in his back was very painful and he had a terrible time sleeping and walking. He still managed to keep his yard up beautifully. His family remembers him for his excellent vegetables. He also did a lot of house repair and could fix anything and everything.

On January 1, 1979, at the age of 87, Amico suffered a heart attack at his home. He was taken to the hospital and died Jan 6[13]. His daughter, Mary, was able to go home. He was conscious and was able to talk to her for the first 2 days. But all the tests were very negative. They could not understand how he stayed alive.

The Mormon elders came up to pray for him (his son, Michael, had become Mormon) but he said, not to worry Father had already been in and had given him the anointing of the sick and he knew he was going home.

"Mike" Amico has left a big empty place in hearts of the ones he left behind.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[Originally written by Mary June Morrison, Amico's daughter in the 1990s. Rewritten by Camellia Flower Acker, Mary's grand-daughter to include corrections and additional facts.]

[1] Family History Center microfilm # 1338776
[3] Family History Center microfilm # 1448675
[4] Original biography written by Mary June Morrison, dates confirmed on 1900 passenger manifest
[5] Family History Center microfilm # 1448676
[7] Letter from Lucia Morelli de Ferri to Michael Morrelli dated July 16, 1988
[11] Letter from Lucia Morelli de Ferri to Michael Morrelli dated July 16, 1988
[12]55 Years on Job, [Amico Morrelli] Retires at Hospital, Ogden Standard-Examiner,
January 13, 1965, p. 16A
[13] Obituaries, Amico J. Morrelli, Ogden Standard-Examiner, January 8, 1979, p. 7B

Gravesite Details When he died he had a picture of (me) his Grandson Robert Morrison in his Wallet

See more Morrelli memorials in:

  • Created by: Robert S. Morrison
  • Added: 1 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 100000134
  • Robert S. Morrison
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Amico Giusto (Justin) “Mike” Morrelli (23 Jul 1891–6 Jan 1979), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100000134, citing Ogden City Cemetery, Ogden, Weber County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Robert S. Morrison (contributor 47963056) .