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James DellaRocco, beloved husband and father, inveterate storyteller, mechanical wizard and Navy veteran, died December 29th of complications of COVID-19.
Born in Albany, March 8, 1930, son of the late James and Lena DellaRocco, lived in West Albany, Jim attended the Christian Brothers Academy (which according to him, he only graduated from because his future wife Gloria did his homework). He served in the Navy where he solidified his love of making a deal (how he got the oversized German baby buggy home to his expectant wife was a anecdote worth hearing) and honed his storytelling craft.
His work life was varied; from carrying ice as a kid, winding motors for the railroad, servicing machines for the Addressograph Multigraph Corporation, gentleman farmer selling his tomatoes at the Menands market to working the print shop at Hudson Valley Community College (a small sampling of his occupations). He was rarely still.
Jim never met a motor he couldn’t fix, an electrical system he couldn’t improve (although weak in carpentry skills his family was always ready to place a nice picture where that hole got a little too big), a dinner he didn’t enjoy or a horse he didn’t want to bet on. He loved flying-obtaining his private pilot’s license and a small Cessna and dubbing the farm field he flew from an International Airport because he once met a Canadian there. He never stopped tweaking, fixing or mowing whatever was at hand and he often offered his skills to family and friends. All of his children can change the oil in their cars.
Always quick with a story, it was easy to tell by the twinkle in his eye where the verifiable evidence left off. He was a lifelong admirer of John Wayne and wasn’t above asking, in times of doubt (which were rare) “What would the Duke do?” He and his brother Mike called each other Dave-we don’t know why.
Most importantly, he will be remembered for his love of his wife Gloria, to whom he was married for 68 years. Their constant, unwavering devotion to each other was a fire that never diminished.
He is survived by his wife Gloria; daughters Beth DellaRocco and Patricia Krawiecki (Ed), sons James (Pam) and Paul DellaRocco (Linda Cook); his five grandchildren - Jessica, Nathan and Nicholas Hemendinger and Anthony and Michelle DellaRocco, and two great-granddaughters - Genevieve Hemendinger-Sgier and Isabella DellaRocco; his brother Michael DellaRocco and sister Gloria Clark. Predeceased by his brother Richard.
A private service will be held at the Saratoga National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please buy a lottery ticket or place a bet at on a long shot at Saratoga this August.
Remembrances may be made to Saratoga National Cemetery Honor Guard Assoc., 200 Duell Rd, Schuylerville, 12871 in memory of James A. DellaRocco.
Visit www.devito-salvadorefh.com to leave condolences or to share memories and photos to Jim's family.