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Hodges Funeral Home at Lee Memorial Park

12777 State Road 82, Fort Myers, FL

OBITUARY

Gesualdo Nardiello

6 January, 193316 February, 2020
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Gesualdo Nardiello January 6, 1933 – Naples, Italy – February 16, 2020 – Fort Myers, USA

Gesualdo Nardiello was born in Naples, Italy on Friday, January 6, 1933. The third of four children born to Giuseppina (Conte) and Angelo Nardiello. Grandson of Carmela (Carillo) and Luigi Nardiello. Great-Grandson of Angela (Mangarano) and Vincenzo Nardiello. He is survived by his beloved wife of sixty-three years, Nancy. Pre-deceased by his older brother Raffaele, (Lello) and his older sister Concettina. (Tina) Survived by his younger sister in Naples, Nunzia Garzilli. (Nunziatina)

Gesualdo is survived by his only child Gesualdo Jr. (Aldo) Nardiello and his daughter-in-law Pamela; Cape Coral, FL. As well as his three grandchildren and their soulmates Gesualdo Nardiello III and his wife Emily, Seattle, WA; Adelina Nardiello and her fiancé Leo Landaburu, Cape Coral, FL; and Marco Nardiello and his fiancé Lauren Roberts, Tampa, FL. Gesualdo’s life was also touched and blessed by his Girasoli brothers and sisters in-laws in America; Carl and Gaya Girasoli, Michael and Janet Girasoli, and Louie and Laura Girasoli. And in Italy by Francesco Russo (Husband of Tina) and Antonio Garzilli. (Husband of Nunzia) Gesualdo also leaves behind many many cousins and nieces and nephews on both sides of the Atlantic. And we must also note that his two furry four-legged “grand-puppies” also dearly loved their Pop Pop, and never left his side when he came to visit.

Gesualdo Nardiello led a full and adventurous life. Born under Mussolini’s dictatorship and on the eve of the Second World War, he left school in the fifth grade to apprentice as a tailor because his father owned a men’s clothing store in Naples, Italy. (Napoli) His father Angelo took him to his first Napoli match at the age of five, in 1938. Because Naples was a militarily strategic seaport in the Mediterranean, it was coveted by Axis and Allied powers alike. My grandfather’s men’s clothing store was struck by British bombers at night in 1943, and yet, even without insurance, he managed to rebuild.

My father and his family survived the bombings of Naples. As a little boy, he knew the terror of hearing the warning sirens, and then the roaring sounds of the engines of the squadrons of planes as they got closer and louder. And then the ear piercing whistles of the dropping bombs followed by the earth-shattering explosions. When under German occupation the Allies bombed the city, the Americans by day, and the British by night. And when the Germans were pushed back to the north of Naples, and the Allies occupied Naples, the Germans then proceeded to bomb the city and its seaport.

Fearing for his family’s safety, my grandfather (Angelo Nardiello - A veteran of World War One) decided to move his family to the outskirts of Naples to a small farming town called Roccarainola (Rocca) about thirty miles northeast of Naples. Sadly, this town was also hit with a bombing raid that killed many people. One day, I was showing my father a YouTube video of Roccarainola today. As the screen showed a beautiful snapshot of the lovely town square; (piazza) my father’s eyes saddened and he said “that’s where all the dead bodies were.” Puzzled, I said “what are you talking about, the piazza is beautiful?” And sure enough, a few seconds later, the video showed a flashback snapshot of the piazza during WW2; and all you could see were hundreds of dead bodies laid out in white body bags all throughout the piazza.

It was surviving during the post-war reconstruction period where my father’s curiosity and fascination about America began. (Aside from watching Tom Mix Western movies) He never forgot what it was like to go without fresh fruit for a few years. For the rest of his life he always craved fruit after each meal. Fruit was his dessert. Never mind cakes and sweets, give him an orange or some grapes after a meal, and he was delighted. In America, it never ceased to amaze him to witness the abundance (Abbondanza) of fresh fruits and vegetables in our grocery stores. He never forgot that an American G.I. gave him his first piece of chewing gum. He wondered as a kid, “what the hell are these Americans always chewing on!?” He never forgot that it was an American G.I. who poured a few “chocolate lentils” (m&m’s) into his cupped hands and the hands of all the other children who shadowed our troops. The kids would run up to the American soldiers with their hands cupped together shouting “Hey G.I.! Hey G.I.!” Knowing that the generosity of the American soldier knew no limits. And most touching of all, my dad told me that whenever a G.I. was seen eating his military rations, all a kid had to do was to look his way, and the soldier would immediately offer him/her some. Is it any wonder why Gesualdo had to marry an American girl and live in the States?

On June 12, 1951, my paternal Grandfather, Angelo Nardiello, died suddenly of a massive stroke. Gesualdo, at the age of 18, had to take over the family business. But his curiosity with America never ceased. My Aunt Irene DeSario would be the conduit. She knew my mom in New York, and my dad in Italy. Through letters, she told each of the other and ignited the courtship. She would translate my father’s letters into English and “spice them up” to my mom with some “poetic liberty.” Likewise, she’d take my mom’s response in English and “spiced it up” again as she translated her words into Italian! My mom and my Grandmother were both soon on their way to Italy in 1956 to meet my father and his family and begin a “supervised” courtship. I owe my very existence to my Aunt Irene!

Gesualdo and Nancy were married in Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church in Maspeth, Queens on July 7, 1957. Gesualdo worked in many places in the New York Metropolitan area. It was a difficult adjustment for him. In Italy, he was a skilled artisan, in America, a factory worker or sales clerk. We moved back and forth to Italy two times, finally settling in the States in 1966. In his time, he worked at NBO, Wallach’s, Brooks Brothers, in the World Trade Center, and even at Gucci’s! (To name just a few) My father knew the entire New York City Public Transit Map by heart. He could tell you what bus or subway to take, and what street to get off for a “transfer” to connect with another line.

In my childhood, he was an affectionate and loving father. Never ashamed to hug and kiss me, especially in public. I grew up always knowing that I was loved. He loved soccer and instilled that passion in me. We never missed the Sunday matches at the Metropolitan Oval. He was fiercely proud of our Italian heritage, and never missed an opportunity to introduce me to another contribution made by another Italian, especially if that person was an immigrant like him. He taught me that in order to respect the cultures and contributions of others, you must first appreciate and respect who you are and where you come from. He was also extremely proud to become an American citizen. I attended many night classes at Grover Cleveland High School on Metropolitan Avenue with him as a little boy. I have no doubt that witnessing all those immigrants, like my father, struggling to learn the English language and American History, would profoundly shape my empathy for, and perceptions of, struggling immigrants today.

Having an ethnic father has its advantages. When my mom tried to make me do “chores” like other American kids, my father rose to my defense! “He isa boy! He no gonna maka the bed and he no gonna wash the dish!” In my dad’s old school mentality, I think he was afraid that doing so-called “women’s work” might make me a “sissy?!” We always lived in apartments, so there was never any lawn to mow! And when my mother wanted to punish my misbehavior by (“Grounding me” – American style!) not allowing me to play my soccer games on Saturday mornings, once again my father came to my rescue. Kind of? “He no gonna missa the game. I taka my belt anda hit him, but he canta missa the game!” Watching me play youth soccer on Saturday mornings at the Met Oval was the highlight of his week. And he wasn’t going to be deprived because I misbehaved! And on parent-teacher nights, he didn’t understand much about the grading system. But he always asked my teachers if I was being respectful; and promptly gave all of them permission to smack me in the back of the head if I wasn’t! And if I ever complained about the kids at school making fun of my “ethnic” lunches; (Veal parmigiana sandwich with the olive oil dripping down my elbows!) he would have none of it, and would mock the peanut-butter sandwiches that the “American” kids brought to school! And shame their “lazy” mothers for not “cooking” better lunches for their kids!

Gesualdo Nardiello, my father, was a “piece of work.” A unique character with an often peculiar view of life and society. The first time he met Pam, my thin and petite future wife, he was terrified! “She’s a too skinny! She’s a no gonna maka the baby!? I hope that his beloved grandchildren (Who all grew taller than him – much to my wife’s delight as she often reminded him!) were able to grasp a small sense of his essence. He loved them with all his heart. He and mom would follow their only child to Albany, and then to Southwest Florida. His final years were challenging. As my mother’s Dementia worsened, he was heroic in his care for her. Organizing her medications, accompanying her to her doctor’s appointments, and measuring and regulating her sugar and the appropriate dosages of insulin she needed daily. As her condition worsened, and she became more combative and defiant, he stood by her side and took great care of his Nancy. The old ethnic Italian guy was now cooking, cleaning, and making the bed in their apartment. And he was proud to do so. The day after we placed mom in the nursing home, he collapsed and was rushed to the ER. There really exists a medical condition known as a “broken heart syndrome.” As dad’s condition worsened, the only way I could convince him to go to a nursing home was the promise that he would be next to mom. Where he could “watch over her” and help take care of her. Her memory loss disease has spared her the grief and sorrow of losing her soulmate of almost sixty-three years. A "blessing" in disguise?

In the end, Gesualdo, a devout Catholic, showed incredible courage in making his own “end of life” decisions. He asked for Hospice to be called in and decided to cease all kidney dialysis, medications, and feedings through his feeding tube. He decided on his own that it was time. He did not want his family to worry about anything when the time came, so he and mom already pre-paid for their final arrangements. There was really nothing for me to do other than signing a few papers. And I thought to myself, wow, pretty impressive for an immigrant low-wage factory laborer with a fifth grade education. Years ago he thought of his loved ones, and not wanting to burden us in our time of grief. He was indeed a “piece of work” and I loved him so and already miss him terribly. I miss his broken-English Neapolitan accent, I miss his reminders of when Napoli and Italy are playing, and I even miss his crazy Ralph Kramden-like get rich schemes. He loved Jackie Gleason and the Honeymooners! And we watched so many episodes together, again and again. After sixty-one years in my life, it’s almost impossible to process that he’s gone. Rest in Peace Dad, I love you and I will never forget you. Thank you for being such a loving Father. Farewell. Your son, "Alduccio."

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Memories

Gesualdo Nardiello

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E R

5 March 2020

May the Good Lord carry your soul into his presence dear Gesualdo. You will be missed by your friends and family members. May God's Grace cover your children, their spouses, your grandchildren and great grandchildren and loving friends. May He comfort them all and give them peace of mind as only the God of Grace can. In loving memory your friend ER.

Umberto Iliano

4 March 2020

Who can forget Mr. Nardiello?
I remember well when I lived on Manor road on Staten Island the days when you and I and Murat, Hilmi, John went to Susan Wagner High School. He never missed a game we had and many times practice or our times always playing ball on Sunday mornings at Silver lake. Me and him shared memories of our Bella Napoli that we left. Because only Neapolitans know how hard detachment from their homeland is. It's like leaving a piece of your heart behind. I can still hear him cheer on the sides when we played.. "Bravi.. Forza we can win!" When we went to Don Crispino on Sunday mornings for a "sfogliatella" our neapolitan pastry and the expresso coffee. When me him and Sergio used to talk about Napoli our favorite soccer team of which he's always been a great fan. Mr. Nardiello was a great example for me of a loving father and a true gentleman. I will always remember him and those years! God bless him and may he rest in peace. By the way if in the other dimension or where ever we go after we die some say we are able to travel at light speed anywhere, then I'm sure he will often come to Napoli to check out the beautiful city he was born on. BUON VIAGGIO ALDO!

Carole Wands

3 March 2020

I met Papa Nard when Pam and Aldo got married. Pam has been my BFF for 40 years so many family events with Papa Nard and Nancy included me! Well Papa Nard told me that I reminded him of Elizabeth Taylor - so of course how could I not love him! He always greeted me with a hug and smile! Rest In Peace.

Diana Ferrucci

18 February 2020

I will truly miss Mr Nardiello. I am one of the receptionist at Evan's Health Care. He would often come and sit by my desk and we would talk and share stories. Sometimes , he would bring me a soda or candy. He was very special. RIP Mr N.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend. Though his body immigrated to America, his heart and soul was forever attached to Napoli. {Naples, Italy}

FROM THE FAMILY

Forza Napoil! {His first Napoli match in 1938, his last on Aug. 7, 2019} Forza Celeste!

FROM THE FAMILY

What is meant by the phrase "See Naples and die"? It means that Naples is so impressive that once you've seen it, there is nothing further left for you to do in your life, as nothing could compare with it. :)

FROM THE FAMILY

July 7, 1957

FROM THE FAMILY

July 7, 1957. The Reception. {Hotel St. George - Brooklyn, NY}

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend. Though his body immigrated to America, his heart and soul was forever attached to Napoli. {Naples, Italy}

FROM THE FAMILY

Forza Napoil! {His first Napoli match in 1938, his last on Aug. 7, 2019} Forza Celeste!

FROM THE FAMILY

What is meant by the phrase "See Naples and die"? It means that Naples is so impressive that once you've seen it, there is nothing further left for you to do in your life, as nothing could compare with it. :)

FROM THE FAMILY

July 7, 1957

FROM THE FAMILY

July 7, 1957. The Reception. {Hotel St. George - Brooklyn, NY}

FROM THE FAMILY

Venice, Italy. Gesualdo & Nancy in 1989; and Lina & Leo in in the same spot in 2019.

FROM THE FAMILY

1956 in Naples Italy. {Courtship}

FROM THE FAMILY

Gesualdo III and Emily's wedding. Nancy and Gesualdo are the "last couple standing on the dance floor" based on "most years married!"

FROM THE FAMILY

1989. Gesualdo & Nancy on the Amalfi Coast.