Thomas Pirollo

We gather here today in sorrow over the loss of our father; our brother; our friend - Thomas Pirollo. But rather than feel sorrow over his death, we should celebrate his life. Tom - Dad - was always a hard-working and caring man. He came to this country at the age of only 17 years. He came to follow the dream of life in America and he longed to share that dream with his family. Tom was instrumental in bringing his mother, brothers and sister to this country.

One summer Tom finally took a vacation back in Italy, touring around in his 53 Pontiac in hopes of finding a fine young Italian girl to be his wife. Tom found Anna in the little town of Scauri participating in the feast of the Madonna and it was love at first sight. He followed her home and asked her father for her hand in marriage. A courtship of less than one month became a marriage that lasted over 53 years. That's quite an accomplishment these days.

After returning to America with his new bride Anna, Tom continued working hard and sharing the dream of America by bringing two of Anna's sisters to this country. He helped them get settled and watched over them as they found their husbands and started lives of their own.

Tom was a good business man. He joined his brother in opening the Pirollo Brothers Bakery where he spent most of his nights making bread and rolls then delivering them to the local stores before catching some sleep in the late morning. I remember many Christmas days were Dad had to get to bed early so he could get to work by 2:00am to make sure there was enough fresh bread for the next day. Tomasso only made it through the 5th grade before he had to start working to support his family, but he became a successful businessman through hard work and dedication.

Thomas continued his caring and giving in the way he raised his children. He encouraged and supported Michael in his studies and helped him establish his own business, Dream Photography. He encouraged his daughter to do better in school by promising to pay her $100 each time she got straight A's. This encouraged her to improve her grades throughout school and to go on to college. Originally Thomas believed that girls didn't need to go to college - they should find a nice boy and settle in at home. But Susan had other ideas and her father supported her throughout college - where, by the way, she found that nice boy after all.

I still remember that first time that I met Thomas and Anna. Susan and I were dating and she wanted me to make a good impression. She helped me to learn and understand the Italian traditions. As I got to know her dad and he got to know me, he realized that you didn't have to be born in Italy to be a nice boy and he eventually welcomed me into the family. He was so happy to help Susan and me build our house just down the street from them. The following year he helped Michael and Patty build their house and the whole family was all together here in Penn Hills.

Dad has been just as supportive with our three children - his first grandson Timothy, our lovely daughter Stephanie and our youngest son Joshua. He and mom helped us raise them by caring for them while we were working. Dad even did something he had never done for his own children - changed a diaper. I remember how proud he was when he found out that he had a grandson who would carry on his name - Michael and Patty's son - Tom Pirollo. His heart swelled with pride when their daughter was named after his wife Anna. And last but certainly not least, the newest addition to the family, little Danielle. Because she's so young now, it will be up to all of us to share our memories of her kind and generous grandfather.

Today we say our final farewells to this man who has touched so many lives and made them better. It's a shock when a loved one is taken away from us so suddenly. But rather than focusing on the sorrow, instead remember the good times. Our father; our husband; our brother; our friend - Thomas Pirollo.

We love you Nonno.

Tim Pittman - February 8, 2007

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