John F. Terranova, of 58 Pierce Street, formerly of 10 Hobart Street, passed away at home on Sunday, 27 September 2020, surrounded by his family after a brief illness. He was 100 years old.
Born in Westerly, RI on 14 December 1919, he was the last of the first generation Italian-Americans born and raised in Westerly's North End. The son of Frank and Immaculata (Ritacco) Terranova and the eldest of 8 siblings, he worked 6 days week as a teen during the Great Depression, and eventually left school to "help put food on the table" and allow his younger siblings to continue their education. As a young man he worked for Universal Fruit of Pawcatuck, CT and local Westerly supermarkets.
He enlisted in the United States Army during World War II. As a radioman in 457th AAA AW Battalion he was part of the first wave of survivors during the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
His memories strong and detailed were filled with sorrow and gratitude. He always said I’m not a hero, the ones that died are the heroes"
In the 1950’s, he co-founded and co-owned Sandy's Fruit Market of Westerly. He sold and delivered produce to local businesses from Watch Hill’s Ocean House to Charlestown's Haversham Inn.
In the 1960's he sold his part of the business and began work at Electric Boat Shipyard as a yard cleaner. He retired in 1984, a well-known and beloved nuclear supervisor in charge of the "paint gang”, with whom he remained lifelong friends.
His most important and some of his proudest life experiences were those of a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and as the patriarch of the extended Terranova family.
He was predeceased by his parents and his wife Nancy Edith (Dant-Clarke) Terranova; brothers Roland “Rolly", Frank ”Gento", and Joseph “Pesce” Terranova; sisters Bomina “Bea" Severns and Rita Morgan; children Daniel Clarke & Nancy Lee (Peter) Balestracci; and granddaughter Terri Ann Balestracci.
He leaves two sisters Florence "Flo" Capizzano of Westerly and Virginia “Twiggy" Craig of Mystic; Daughters Marie (John) Terranova Self of Westerly and Cecilia (John) Murray of Ashaway; Son in Law Peter (Joan) Balestracci of Mystic; Daughter in law Cheryl Clark of Sarasota, FL; grandchildren Thomas John "TJ" Murray, Brian Murray, Ashley (Jim) Stalnaker, Terri Chamberlain (Balestracci), Michael Balestracci, and Christopher LaChapelle; Great Grandchildren Sarah (Christian) Silva, Alyssa Murray, and Owen Murray; and great great grandchild Logan Silva, As well as 27 nieces and nephews and their extended families.
Throughout his life, he was a devout communicant of St. Pius X Church. He was also a lifetime member of the BPOE #678, the VFW #8955, and the KofC Council #21.
Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, 4 October 2020, from 2-6 PM at the Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main St. Westerly, RI. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Pius X Church, Elm Street Westerly RI on Monday, 5 October 2020, at 10 AM. There will be no procession from the funeral home. Burial will follow at St. Sebastian cemetery with full military honors.
Seating capacity limits, social distancing guidelines and other public health directives (i.e., use of facemasks and maximum of 15 people in the building at any given time) will be in place.
For online condolences and to view a stream of the wake on Sunday, 4 October 2020, please visit www.buckler-johnston.com.
Please consider donating to the American Flag Fund Committee at 41 Railroad Avenue in Westerly, which erects flags in Westerly in memory of our veterans.
To plant a tree in memory of John F. Terranova, please visit our tribute store.