Eugene John LaColla
February 28, 1934 – December 27, 2019
With profound sadness we announce the passing of Eugene LaColla our loving and devoted father and husband. At his home, with his wife Carol and daughter Lynn by his side, he passed away peacefully on December 27, 2019. The way he died is just like he lived: he wrote his own rules and made hard decisions. His wishes were clear and we honored them. He was born at home in Brooklyn during a snow storm on February 28, 1934 to Eugene and Argentina, the last of their three children. As family legend has it, Dr. Fitzgerald charged $50 but they only paid $35. He was born blue and his Aunt Louise rubbed him with olive oil.
Genie, as he was known to his parents, grew up playing in the streets of Brooklyn with the sounds of the elevated train in the background. He graduated Franklin K. Lane High School at age 17, having skipped a couple of years. In 1955 he graduated from St. Johns School of Pharmacy and passed the boards in NY and FL. He was 21. Thinking the Army had missed him he moved to Hollywood Florida. He was wrong. He landed at Ft. Fitzsimons Army Hospital in the outskirts of Denver, Colorado. He took another pharmacy board, found a job off base to supplement his income, and at a house party at 920 Nome Street met the love of his life Carol,his wife for 60 years.
He left the Army in March of 1959, married Carol in May and along with his brother Thomas bought a drugstore on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. They became known as “The Boys” to all the local doctors and stayed in business for 35 years, often dispensing care and advice. Working 7 days a week he raised a family and put another generation through college.
Gene retired in 1996 and he and Carol moved to Fairfax Virginia to be near his grandchildren. He took extreme pride in his two grandsons. Grant (22) and Carter (19) often saying that his dad had been the smartest person he knew, but now when he needs to know something, he asks his grandchildren. Among their accomplishments it was their academic achievements he would boast of. Gene was often a leader and a joiner, giving back throughout his life including: Chancellor of Phi Sigma Chi Fraternity (which met above Fitzgerald’s Bar); President of Kiwanis of Hyland Park; served on the board of Fairfax City 4th of July Parade; member of Fairfax Renaissance Housing Corporation, and Treasurer and Trustee with Italian Heritage Lodge (Sons of Italy). Gene enjoyed a good joke, nice meal, New York Pizza and hollering at football games on Sundays. His regrets were few. He was genuine to a fault, a softie at heart and he sugar coated nothing. When he complimented or praised you, he meant it.
All whom loved him dearly will never forget his tenacity, quick wit, and undying love. He took care of his family (sometime spoiled them) with a dedication and devotion that left no question about his affections. Eugene is survived by his wife Carol LaColla, Daughter Lynn Barnsback, Son Eugene LaColla, Grandsons Grant & Carter Barnsback, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers and sister.
The family will greet friends from 4:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday, January 3rd at Demaine Funeral Home, Fairfax Virginia. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday January 4th at 11 am, St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Fairfax Virginia. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. John School of Pharmacy in honor of Eugene LaColla: https://sju.quadweb.site/giving/college-of-pharmacy-and-health-sciences
If you wish to give via check, please make check out to St. John's University and mail to 8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens, NY 11439. Indicate it is in memory of Eugene LaColla for the College of Pharmacy.
- St. John School of Pharmacy
- Visitation Friday, January 3, 2020
- Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, January 4, 2020