Cover photo for Vittorio Zippi's Obituary
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1924 Vittorio 2017

Vittorio Zippi

May 7, 1924 — January 28, 2017

Vittorio Alberto Angelo Martino Zippi , 92, of Jeannette, died Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Born May 7, 1924, in Crabtree, he was a son of Simplicio Zippi and Luisa Crocetti Zippi from Sant' Omero, Italy. At 12, he began studying the trumpet, the love of which he carried throughout his life. He played in the Greensburg High School Band, was a member of the United Mineworkers Union Band Jameson No. 4 Mine in Crabtree, and was the original trumpet player in the Bobby Dale Orchestra, where he went under the name of Zip Martin. He also accepted an invitation to perform in a concert with the Westmoreland Philharmonic Winds. His music has been heard throughout the tri-state area and can also be heard on the CD "The Dynasty." Vittorio attended Greensburg High School before entering the Army in 1943. He served in the 460th A.CU.BN Anti-Aircraft Battalion, the Allied Support Hospitals for the Normandy Invasion, and became a medic with the 160th General Hospital. While with the 160th, he worked with Dr. Dwight Harken, an innovator in heart surgery who introduced the concept of the ICU; and with Dr. Paul Zoll, inventor of the heart defibrillator. He also attended art school, baker's school, and did barbering for his fellow soldiers. His musical skills continued in the Army. In addition to being the company bugler, he was a member of the 160th band; he and his fellow band members performed for celebrities such as Joe Louis, Lucille Ball and Madeline Carroll. They also played a private performance for the Queen Mother. While in the Army, he earned several medals: European and African Campaign, American Campaign, Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Meritorious Unit Citation. While stationed in England, he met Helen Baillie, who became his wife on Aug. 7, 1945. Their daughter, Carole, was born the following year. Upon returning to the U.S., Vittorio used the GI Bill to attend barber school, a vocation he practiced for over six decades. He and his wife subsequently had two more children, Victor and Diane. Because he wanted to settle with his family, he turned down two offers to travel, one with Louis Prima's band and one with Cole Brothers Circus. In January 2015, he was interviewed by Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh regarding his military experience. The interview was picked up by The Greatest Generation Foundation and, subsequent to that, by Stefano Ballini, an Italian filmmaker. Mr. Ballini featured Vittorio in his movie "Monte Sole, Landing Memories," which is shown in schools throughout Italy and was declared the best documentary of 2016 by the president of Italy. The movie will be premiered in Pittsburgh in March 2017, at which time Vittorio would have been a guest of honor. In addition to his passion for music, Vittorio loved vegetable gardening and experimenting with non-native plants, having raised tobacco and cotton on occasion. He also had a passion for telling tall tales to his customers in his Jeannette barber shop, his biggest being the years-long ongoing saga of the Crabtree Underground Mall, of which he claimed to be founder and CEO. It was not a tale, though, that he was proudly Bill Mazeroski's barber for almost half a century. His strongest love and passion, however, was for his family. He was never happier than when his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were gathered around him. Vittorio was a former member of the Jeannette VFW, Jeannette American Legion, and the Greensburg branch of the American Federation of Musicians. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the DAV Jeannette Chapter 26, where he remained a life member, and as the president of Jeannette Barbers' Union. He was also a charter member of the Jeannette Community Band. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Helen; his siblings, Pierre, Josephine, Sam, Laurarine, and baby Carlo; and his son-in-law, Dr. Maynard Brennan. He is survived by his children, Dr. Carole Brennan, of Springdale, Victor Zippi, and his wife, Mary, of Jeannette, and Diane Zippi, of Pittsburgh; his grandchildren, Joel Brennan, and his wife, Kim, of Brentwood, and Maria Petrulak, and her husband, Kevin, of North Huntingdon; his great-grandchildren, Elliott and Maxwell Brennan, and Myla and Owen Petrulak; his stepgreat-grandchildren, Zachary and Emily Petrulak; his brother, Carlo, of Jeannette; his cousins, Omero and AnnaMarie Zippi, of Philadelphia; several nieces and nephews; and innumerable friends, including dear and close friends, Joni and Jeff Carroll. Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate the life of Vittorio from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the CLEMENT L. PANTALONE FUNERAL HOME INC. 409 W. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg, PA 15601, (724) 837-0020. Parting prayers will be held at 9:15 a.m. Thursday in the funeral home, followed at 10 a.m. by a funeral Mass to be celebrated in St. Bartholomew Church, with Father Justin Matro, OSB, celebrating. Interment with full military honors will follow in Calvary Hill Cemetery, Crabtree. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh, 3706 W. 8th Ave., Beaver Falls, PA  15010. Vittorio's family has entrusted his care to the Pantalone Funeral Home, Inc., Greensburg. To share your memories and photos, offer your condolences, or for directions, please visit us at, Natale N. Pantalone, Supervisor.

Charitable donations may be made to:

Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh
3706 W. 8th Ave., Beaver Falls PA 15010

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