Gino Micciche, 92, of 111 Arcade Ave., Jamestown, died Sunday (Feb. 23, 2014), in the WCA Hospital.
He was born in Milan, Italy, on Jan, 23, 1922, the son of Vincenzo and Carmela Martorana Micciche. His family lived close to Milan's famous Opera House, La Scala, where Gino attended operas and listened to the discussions of Toscanni and other Italian opera personalities in the galleria across the square. Gino's love of Italian opera and the fine arts continued his whole life. He was energetic, gifted, creative, generous and giving. He was nicknamed by friends, the Count of Milan.
Always a hard worker and entrepreneur, at the early age of 8 or 9, he sold cushions for outdoor La Scala concerts, bicycled fresh fish to restaurants, worked as a dishwasher and cappuccino/expresso maker in elegant expresso bars in Milan, including one near the famous Santa Maria Delle Grazie Church, where the famous mural-fresco, the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is located.
Following graduation from secondary technical school, he enrolled and at-tended the Bocconi Institute of Art until enrolling in Navy school in 1940. Because World War II was heating up, he was commis-sioned early and began patrolling boats, made deployments on submarines in the Adriatic Sea and served on a destroyer protecting convoys to Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece from the Mediterranean. After Italy surrendered to the Allies, Gino helped to form the first Italian Marine Battalion and went on to command a platoon at the front lines at Monte Cassino. He was awarded the Italian Gold Medal of Honor.
Following the war, Gino worked for the Italian government as a guard, and inspector of large gas tank-er trucks with the Shell Oil Company, preventing black market business. His dream was to come to America, and in 1949, Gino left Italy for the United States, with the Italian Soccer Federation and came to stay permanently in Jamestown, with his Uncle Martoranna and family and became an American citizen. He played goalie on the Jamestown Viking soccer team for many years.
Because of his artistic and creative abilities, Gino was immediately employed as a decorator at Union National Furniture, where he gold-leafed Lucille Ball's red bedroom set. Later, he worked at United Lumber Co. as a cabinet maker. He also worked nights refinishing and antiquing furniture on his own. In 1958, he started his own company, Builtrite, on Monroe Street and employed eight to 12 people. They made store fixtures and had customers as far away as the Boston Store in Erie, Pa. In 1962, he purchased and began Jamestown Wood Working in Celoron, making more cabinet and wood furniture parts and products and employed more than 80 peo-ple. Jamestown Woodworking made office furniture, cabinets and designed wood components for such places as the Cadillac building in Detroit, 300 of-fices at Christian Science Motherhouse in Boston, Metropolitan Opera Offices in New York City, Cornell College's proscenium, Thiel College dormitory furniture and many church pews, including three Jamestown churches. In 1972, Gino sold Jamestown Woodworking and became an independent wood broker, traveling a great deal in the United States and Europe.
Two of Gino's great pas-sions were cooking and golf. During his business travels both nationally and internationally, he would study cook books and visit with chefs in fine restaurants, learning the "art" of cooking. He called himself a "creative cook" and wrote hundreds of his own recipes, culminating in three published cookbooks, ''Natural Italian Cooking: Volume 1 Zuppe, Volume 2 PASTA and Volume 3 Pranzi.''
Gino was a member of Moonbrook Country Club for 42 years. He continued enjoying golfing at Maplehurst Country Club and was looking forward to golfing there this spring. He won many golf tournaments. He holds a patent on two of his creations including the "rotator" golf club and creative boards.
Gino was one of the original members of the Italian American Golf Tournament and organized Jamestown's Italian sister city in Cantu, Italy, worked with Sarita Weeks in organizing Jamestown Concert Association's concerts, including opera singers in the 1960s. He is a member of the Noon Jamestown Ro-tary Club, Elks Club and First Lutheran Church.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Colander Micciche, whom he married on Nov. 20, 2002, in Venice, Italy; a son, Vincent J. (Carm) Micciche; and a daughter, Catherine J. (Robert D.) Hallberg, Jamestown; five grandchildren: Michael V. (Stacey) Micciche and Lisa M. Micciche, Jamestown, Andrew J. (Michelle) Micciche, Franklin, Va., Jennifer (Max) Falkowski, Sinclairville, and Stephanie (Craig) Warnshuis, Erie, Pa.; 10 great-grandchildren; two stepsons: Skylen Freet (Marion) Sandy, Oregon and and Starson Freet, Dunkirk, N.Y.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Nuncia Lucca Micciche, who died Feb. 20, 1998; and by six brothers and sisters; including Giovanna Marchini and Joseph Micciche.
The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in First Lutheran Church. The Rev. Dan Nagle, pas-tor, will officiate.
Entombment will be in Holy Sepulchre Mausole-um. Friends will be received on Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. in the Hubert Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Memorials may be made to the Elks Lodge, 339 E. Fourth St., Jamestown, NY 14701 or to Jamestown Ro-tary Club, P.O. Box 454, Jamestown, N.Y. 14702.
You may send con-dolences to the family by visiting www.hubertfuneralhome.com.