SPRINGFIELD – Frank “Chich” J. Pellegrino, 95, passed away on June 19, 2019 at Baystate Medical Center. Born on June 3, 1924 in Bianco, Provincia di Reggio Calabria, Italy to the late Pasquale and Agata (Luvera) Pellegrino, he came to America in 1927 at the age of three. During his youth he worked as a shoeshine boy in the downtown area, and attended Technical High School. He worked at the Springfield Armory prior to entering into the armed forces.
A decorated World War II Veteran, Frank served as a medic in field hospitals in France and Germany from 1943 – 1944, finishing out his service in 1947. He received the American Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, and the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.
Chich was an accomplished professional musician, known locally for his amazing skills as a drummer. He performed in many area clubs and shows, including the Eastern States Exposition. He frequently worked with jazz great Phil Woods (saxophone) and other local jazz artists. Chich also taught percussion and drums to many areas students, including his nephew Chris (deceased), who was also a brilliant local area musician. Frank was a prolific songwriter throughout his life, composing several works as recently as five years ago, and was a member of the Hampden County Musicians Union.
Frank was deeply focused on physical and spiritual wellbeing and the natural world. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening and the outdoors, spending many hours engaged in these activities. Frank was also a keeper of the family wine recipe, handed down from his father Pasquale. He was deeply spiritual, passionately sharing the truths he embraced from various traditions with all of his extended family.
Besides his parents, Frank is predeceased by his siblings James, his twin brother Anthony, Dominick, and Joseph Pellegrino. To cherish his memory, he leaves his sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Leonard Danos, sister-in-law Eleanor Pellegrino, his friend Harry Danos, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews that all knew and loved him.
Chich always reminded us “The mind, the consciousness and the character of our being is eternal.”
The family wishes to express their heartfelt gratitude to Orchard Valley at Wilbraham Senior Living Community and Baystate Medical Center Staff for their care, support, and guidance over the last year.
Family and friends are invited to gather on Friday, June 28, 2019 from 4 – 7 PM at Forastiere Smith Funeral Home, 220 North Main Street, East Longmeadow. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, June 29, 2019 beginning at 8:45 AM at the funeral home followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 10 AM at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 123 William St. Springfield. Burial with military honors will be in St. Michael’s Cemetery, State St. Springfield.
Memorial contributions may be made in Frank’s name to a charity of one’s choice. For more information, please visit www.forastiere.com