John J. Gentile, 98, passed away peacefully on January 24, 2023 in the Simsbury, Connecticut home where he was born. John was the eldest child of the late Emilio “Mick” and Rose Gentile and a first-generation American. His childhood home was a lively place where homemade foods, fresh grown vegetables, music, wine and bocce were enjoyed by family, friends and neighbors.
John was a member of Simsbury High School Class of 1942. In February of his senior year, soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor and before graduating, John enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. He was assigned to Communication Security Activity in the department of Naval Intelligence. From clandestine locations in New York, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii, he radioed vital messages in Morse code during World War II. He was discharged from the Navy in January 1946 as a Chief Petty Officer, Radioman First Class and Chief Radioman.
John attended electronics school in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in 1947 and was hired by RCA Service Company. In May of 1951 he rejoined the Navy as a reservist and was immediately called back to serve in the Korean War during which he was stationed on the West Coast and in Washington, D.C. He served through September of 1952 and was honorably discharged.
He retired from RCA in 1987 and took up many hobbies- bicycling, cooking and gardening among his favorites. He never met a pepper or tomato he didn’t like. He carried on the family tradition of making homemade pasta and hosting Christmas Eve dinners for many years. He loved listening to music and sports broadcasts while working in the garden. He was an ardent Boston Red Sox and University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball fan. John was a familiar face at St. Mary’s Church in Simsbury where he was a lifelong parishioner and usher at the 9 o’clock Sunday mass for more than 60 years.
John was predeceased by his younger siblings, twins Amilio “Mickey” Gentile and Philomena “Dolly” Spatcher. He was a dear uncle to his nephews, nieces, and their spouses: William Spatcher, Jr. (Elizabeth) of Canton, John Spatcher (Janet) of Granby, Jane Spatcher McAlpine (Jess) of Simsbury, Kim West (Kevin) of Simsbury, Jeffrey Gentile (Pam) of East Falmouth, MA, and Scott Gentile (Susan) of Simsbury. John also leaves behind 16 great-nephews and great-nieces, 5 great-great-nieces and 1 great-great-nephew. The family is extremely grateful to his home health aides and McLean Home Care and Hospice for their compassion and professional care.
John will be deeply missed but his warm smile, love of family, genuinely kind nature, and remarkable integrity will always be remembered.
Visitation will be held Sunday, January 29th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Vincent Funeral Home, 880 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, Connecticut. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, January 30 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church, 942 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury. Burial with military honors will follow at St. Bernard’s Cemetery in Tariffville. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Mary’s Church (stmarysimsbury.org ) or McLean Home Care and Hospice (mcleancare.org ). Please visit John’s Book of Memories at www.vincentfuneralhome.com for online tributes.