GIRARD — “In the wee hours of Saturday morning September 3, 2022, my father’s angel wings were ready and he took flight to his heavenly home.”
Leo Joseph Barreca, 93, with his daughter by his side, lost his battle against the demons of vascular dementia and, more recently, leukaemia.
“Dad was born April 2, 1929, the second son of Joseph Leo Barreca and Antoinette Chila Barreca. He graduated in 1947 from Girard High School. After graduating, he worked alongside his father in the family grocery store/meat market, first on Liberty Street, then moved to the exact spot where the old Sparkle Market building is today. After my grandfather passed away, his life took another direction.
At that time he had married the “The love of his life” Angie Sherock Barreca, October 14, 1950, at the Sainte-Rose church in Girard.
For a short time, he worked at Commercial Shearing, then moved on to work for the Ohio Chair Co., where his involvement as a trade unionist began, as the union’s local branch recording secretary. Being a butcher by trade and family line, when the Ohio Chair closed, he went to work for Sparkle Markets, becoming a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. He retired in 1995 after injuring his back (he went to get a crate of meat and couldn’t get up).
Leo was a life member of St. Rose’s Church. There he gave of his time selflessly, serving as mass server at funeral masses, and every Thursday, without fail, he went to help Frank B. with any work that needed to be done. When the church started a 14-year run of the St. Rose Festival, you could find him on the grounds helping with the installation. When the festival opened, you could find him manning the beer tent with Harry. (“Thank you dad. Your presence has made my life and Linda’s life so much easier.)
Leo was a member of Sons of Italy, IFH (Italian Fraternal Home) and Knights of Columbus No. 2935. He played pétanque summer/winter at IFH, where he was a member of the Ballbusters, never missing the “feast” or the opportunity to seize his “last bologna sangwich” this past July.
Leo was both a 3rd and 4th degree knight. During the summer and spring you could find him at the Mahoning Country Club cooking for the golfers, then during Lent he grabbed his apron and went frying fish at the Annual Fish Fry. In 2015, the GYAC named him Man of the Year and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“When he was younger he enjoyed hunting and fishing, never missing the opportunity to watch his beloved Joe DiMaggio and the New York Yankees play the Indians. Although he was an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan, his passion was for the Indianapolis 500m, so much so that for 30 years, from 1962 to 1992, he never missed a race (except one times in 1963, when mom made her stay home because she had to come anytime with my little sister, Car. The one and only year her favorite driver, Parnelli Jones, won the race.) I will always remember the smell of peppers and eggs as Mom packed a cooler full of sandwiches for the trip. , or the wafting smell of fried chicken coming next as Aunt Phyllis did the same. Once packed, Dad, Uncle Pete (Gelsomino), Uncle Mike (Ianucci) and Uncle Bill (Nastasi) set off for the races. Eventually, Eric and Car joined in the fun.
Leo was predeceased by his parents; her brother, Joe; his wife, Angie; his sister, Carmel Barreca Welch; his “Adopted son,” Eric Gelsomino; and three weeks later, his “little girl”, Carl.
He lets cherish his memory, his daughter, Kathleen, with whom he resided; his nephew, Leon of Akron; and two godchildren, John Pugliese of Texas and Greg Costantino of McDonald’s. He also leaves his grandchildren, Ittybittykitty and Smudge.
“I would like to thank Father Korda for his prayers and comfort during this difficult time, and Father Jordan of St. Rose, who also reached out. Thank you Dr Enyeart and his team and Dr Charles Wilkins and his team. A very special thank you to Jackie from Comfort Keepers (dad loved you so much), who took care of him as if he were his own. Finally, my deep gratitude and thanks to the Hospice de la Vallée. I couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you Dr Eddy, Banielle (his second love), Robin, Meghan, Lenore and Tami. You carried me through many sleepless nights. God protects you.”
The funeral will be held on Sunday, September 11, 2022 at 7 p.m. at Blackstone Funeral Home, where the family will receive relatives and friends from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Leo will be buried next to his wife and daughter in Calvary Cemetery.
Monetary donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Angels for Animals, or family, to help defray costs.
“I love you dad”
Visit www.blackstonefuneralhome.com to view this obituary and to send any expressions of sympathy to the family.