Sunday, October 1, 2023

William Gerard Vitaletti Sr., 97, of Williamsburg

William Gerard Vitaletti Sr. (Nelsen Williamsburg)

William (Bill) Vitaletti, Sr., passed away peacefully on February 2, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. Fifteen days shy of his 98th birthday, he was a Prince of a man who exuded unconditional love and filled people with the joy he felt for life.

Bill was born in Dunmore, PA to Antoinette and Silvio Vitaletti on February 17, 1925. He grew up with his brother, Roland, and an extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins who called him “Buddy.” He attended Dunmore High School where he developed lifelong friendships and an appreciation of learning, sports, fishing, and family gatherings. Bill was a gifted athlete and an All-Star high school football player who later went on to play for the Scranton Semi-Pro Football Team.

In 1941, immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, Bill told his father he wanted to enlist in the army. One of the Greatest Generation, he served in WWII as a 1st Sergeant in the 97th Field Artillery. He was stationed in the Philippines and served as an army instructor for survival swimming in hazardous water conditions. After returning from the service, Bill worked at his cousin’s dry cleaners business and attended night school at Scranton University. Upon graduating from Scranton University, he worked at IBM in Endicott and later pursued his dream to own his own business, Martin Brothers Drycleaners and Fabricare Center. Bill loved his employees and clients who ultimately became his friends.

Bill met the love of his life, Catherine DiPietro at a community dance when they passed each other on a staircase, glanced back, and locked eyes. He proposed six months later on the shores of Lake Wallenpaupack and they married on October 11, 1953. They spent many of their 70 years together dancing. Bill was happiest when surrounded by his family. He was a devoted father of six children and a hero to his grandchildren with whom he frequently shared songs and prayers around the dinner table. One of his greatest joys was conversing with his family about philosophy and religion, instilling a deep sense of spirituality, compassion, and gratitude.

His love for competitive sports was a constant in his life. He was an enthusiastic supporter of his children’s activities and was often seen pacing back and forth at swimming, basketball, or baseball events cheering them on. For over twenty years, he played in a men’s tennis league and was an avid golfer. He joined three of his dearest friends for a weekly round of golf and was proudly featured in a news article about how he and his sons each scored an eagle or hole-in-one during a particularly memorable season.

Bill was a devout Catholic and served as an usher at St. James Church in Johnson City. He was known for lifting the spirits of his fellow parishioners through song and his infectious joy. Bill was a 4th Degree Sir Knight in the Knights of Columbus, serving many years as the council treasurer and General Chairman of the Lourdes Hospital Golden Harvest Ball.

Bill lived his life by counting his blessings and performing daily acts of kindness. He wouldn’t hesitate to buy a stranger lunch or support a person in need. In later years, Bill found peace in daily prayer and meditation. He insisted on taking walks by himself to contemplate existence and the preciousness of life. He will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched with his joy, kindness, and generosity.

The family wishes to thank all the wonderful nurses and medical staff at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Hospital in Williamsburg, VA who cared for Bill during his brief illness.

Bill is survived by his wife, Catherine Vitaletti of Williamsburg, VA; children, Cheryl Vitaletti (Jimmy) Syracuse, NY, Bill Vitaletti,Jr. (Catherine) Springfield, VA, Linda Koffman (Steven), Franklin Lakes, NJ, Dr. Anne Coughlin (George) Stowe, Vermont, Tom Vitaletti (Carolee), Williamsburg, VA, and Cari Vitaletti; grandchildren: Dr. Leana Doherty (Philip), Katie Doherty, George Coughlin, Thomas Vitaletti (Rachel), Taylor Vitaletti, Alexander Fesquet (Sierra), Isabella Rose Koffman; great-grandchildren: Maximillian, Liam, and Charlotte; as well as many beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

A private family service will be held in Williamsburg, VA. Family and friends are welcome to attend a Celebration of Life Service in Binghamton, NY, to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution in Bill’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or a charity of your choice.

Please visit Nelsen Funeral Home to offer condolences:

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