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Gerald Panaccione, known as Jerry, passed away on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, his daughter Donna by his side. He was one day shy of his 95th birthday.
Jerry was born in Newark, NJ on December 20, 1923, to Modesto and Maria (Zigarelli) Panaccione.
He always had a strong work ethic, from delivering newspapers at age 12, to painting in the National Youth Association program, working as a stone mason’s helper, and trying his hand hawking fruits and vegetables from a horse-drawn cart on city streets. His real love was auto mechanics, and he kept working to that end. In frustration he quit school in the middle of tenth grade when he didn’t get into the autoshop class. He worked at various jobs until joining the army at age 20, serving in Italy during WWII. He served as a cook and in the artillery, and spoke about his army experiences throughout his life. He also served four years in the Air National Guard.
The GI Bill provided funds to take a tune-up course. Jerry worked in several garages, gaining experience. He eventually opened his own garage and gas station in Newark, where he met his future bride, Sally Barone. They married on November 22, 1953, and began a family. Jerry was nearly crushed when a car slipped out of gear in his shop. During his ten month recuperation, he had Sally bring him books on electronics to learn a new trade. He took a class and got books from the library.
Jerry worked for about eight years at Federal Pacific Electric, Newark, NJ. He worked in the sheet metal department as an assembler. Jerry made extra money as a cab driver in Montclair, and he and Sally bought their first house in Belleville, NJ. They also bought a small property in Sussex County, where the family enjoyed weekends at the lake.
With the children grown, Jerry and Sally started to travel. Their first trip was to Italy, then Hawaii, California, Las Vegas, Arizona. They also traveled to military reunions, and took regular trips to Vermont to visit his daughter Donna and family.
When Jerry got a job at Automatic Switch Company in Florham Park, he wired panel boards for switching units. They moved to East Hanover. Jerry retired after 22 years, and another move followed, to Little Egg Harbor.
The last move was to West Burke, VT to be near Donna and Andrew. Sally developed Alzheimer’s Disease, and Jerry needed help. He made sure that Sally was well cared for.
Jerry loved home cooking. A typical question was, “Did you make this?” Food was suspect if it wasn’t homemade by family! He later acquired a fondness for McDonald’s chicken sandwich though.
He also loved to learn new things. He was always buying books on a myriad of subjects. He looked up definitions and took lots of notes. He continued working on cars for many years, gardening, laying cement, planting trees, staying active.
Jerry loved hard work, but he came to truly value his family too. He was proud of his children and grandchildren, and expressed that to Donna up until his last days.
Jerry is survived by three children, a daughter; Donna Otto and husband, Andrew of West Burke, VT;
two sons: Gerald Panaccione and wife, Marianne of East Hanover, NJ, and Mark Panaccione of Hornell, NY; seven grandchildren: Elizabeth Bedor and husband, Jason of St. Johnsbury, VT, Andrea Otto of West Burke, James Otto of Burlington, VT, Michael Panaccione of East Hanover, NJ, Danielle Panaccione and husband, Mark Pabers, of Flemington, NJ, Tina White and partner, Matthew Frechette of Hornell, NY, and Melissa Makarick and husband, Evan of Corning, NY; and seven great-grandchildren: Drea and Waverly Bedor, Aiden Panaccione, Lilly and Kadence White, and Gracie and Oliver Makarick.
He was predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Sally; his parents, Modesto and Maria; five siblings: Frank, Nick, Marie Clemente, Edith Zagoric, and Jenny Rizzo; and his wife’s parents and siblings.
Spring services will be held at the Guibord-Pearsons Funeral Home at 11AM on Friday, May 3, 2019. Friends may call on the family from 10AM until the hour of service. Burial with military honors will immediately follow at the Hillside Cemetery in Burke, VT.
There will be no calling hours at his time.
Memories and condolences can be shared with the family at www.guibordfh.com