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Obituary of George Frank DiGirolamo
Wharf pioneer George DiGirolamo died peacefully at his home in Monterey on February 16 surrounded by family. He was 95.
Born on February 22, 1927 in Somerville, Massachusetts, George was the eighth of thirteen children born to Rosina and Filippo DiGirolamo, immigrants from Marsala, Sicily. They gradually migrated to Monterey for the fishing. George arrived in 1936 at age 9 and began selling newspapers and shining shoes to help his family through the Depression. He was known around town as “Boston” because of his accent.
George attended Monterey High School, class of 1946. As a teenager, he opened the Gugnuk Café on the wharf, serving coffee and donuts to the fishermen before dawn. He served in the US Army in 1945-46 as a member of the 759th Military Police Battalion in Berlin, primarily assisting Displaced Persons. He received a World War II Victory Medal and an Army of Occupation Medal.
With his mustering-out pay ($300), George joined his brothers in buying a building on the wharf which they turned into Angelo’s Restaurant. It introduced pizza to the peninsula and flourished for 37 years, employing three generations of family and friends. The brothers also operated wholesale fish markets in Monterey and Moss Landing. In 1976, they built the Wharf Theater and Ethnic Arts Gift Shop. George managed the shop for 33 years, retiring in 2009 at age 82. In 1993, the Wharf Association named him “Fisherman’s Wharf Person of the Year.”
George met his wife of 72 years, Diane Ferreira of Oakland, while selling souvenirs on the wharf. They married in 1950 and raised five children in Carmel and Monterey. George was a lifelong member of Carmel’s Knights of Columbus chapter. He also belonged to the Monterey Sons of Italy, Italian Catholic Federation, and Board of Realtors.
George was preceded in death by his son Frank (Becki). His survivors include wife Diane; sons Philip (Lisa), Vincent (April Masten), and Thomas (Carrie); daughter Joyce (Steve Koth); ten grandchildren; ten greatgrandchildren; three sisters; and many loving nieces and nephews.
Please join us for a Celebration of Life luncheon at the Oldemeyer Center, 986 Hilby Ave., Seaside, CA 93955, 11:00-4:00.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of George DiGirolamo, please visit Tribute Store
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