6/13/1924 – 7/19/2021
Anthony Percoco of Accord, NY, passed away peacefully at home on July 19, 2021. He was 97 years old. Born in Union City, NJ on June 13, 1924; the son of John and Lucy (Zarrella) Percoco.
Tony’s parents were Italian immigrants who came from Caserta and Naples, Italy during World War I. They lived in Harlem and then moved to the Bronx near Arthur Avenue.
Elementary schools attended were PS 32, 47 and 57. Momma Percoco got the wanderlust and moved to Union City, NJ, where Tony went to the Thomas A. Edison Public School and graduated from 8th grade. Moving once more he attended Dickinson High School in Jersey City. Tony‘s dad passed away in 1939 and he moved to Granite near Kerhonkson with his sister and brother-in-law who was working on the Rondout Reservoir Project. Tony attended Kerhonkson High School and graduated in 1942. He loved basketball and was part of a championship team.
War broke out and the induction notice came from Uncle Sam.
A chance meeting with a service man in Kerhonkson got him interested in the Seabees, a new branch of the Armed Forces. He enlisted and after training in Camp Peary, VA, the group ended up as replacements with the 43rd Seabee Construction Battalion in Kodiak, AK, then returning back to Camp Hueme, CA to ship out for Oahu and Maui to train with the 4th Marine Division who had just returned from Guadalcanal.
Suddenly there was a switch and the 133rd Seabee Battalion took the place of the 43rd with the Fourth Marine Division. The 133rd was in the first wave at Iwo Jima and took many casualties. They were then attached to the 2nd Marine Division to prepare for the invasion of Japan. In the harbor preparing to sail, President Truman gave the orders to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They sailed into the Nagasaki Harbor six weeks after the bomb was dropped. The city was devastated.
Back home in Kerhonkson and working many menial jobs he found his way to the New Paltz State Teacher’s College in 1946, and graduated in 1950 and had his first teaching job at Kerhonkson High School teaching, Social Studies and Science, grades 7 and 8. From there he went to the to the Ellenville School System and taught grades 5 and 6 for five years, was an assistant principal and became a guidance counselor until retirement in 1988.
Deciding to give back to the community for his years of service served, he served on the Ellenville School Board of Education for 25 years. Previous to the school board he was a trustee for the Ellenville Public Library for thirteen years. Honors received were Ulster County Citizen of the Year, Counselor of the Year from UCCA Phi Delta Kappa, Coached Little League Basketball in Slusky Center and Chairman of the Village Beautification Committee.
In 1991 he was appointed chairman of the 43rd Seabee Battalion Association Reunion Committee. Assisted by Vicki, his wife, both plan many functions for the group each year. The last reunion took place in Radford, VA in October 2011 with only four members in attendance, down from 1000. In addition, Tony and Vicky started a T&V Tours, traveling many places and making many friends, until 2015.
He is survived by his loving wife and dance partner, Vicki; his children, Shelley and William, Rick and Melissa, Randy (deceased) and Lori, Ralph, Christine and Joseph. Grandchildren, Kristen, Erik, Carla, David, Brandon, Dana, Cassidy and Owen. Great grandchildren, Erika, William, Tanner, Carter and Kainen. Sister-in-law and brother-in-law Francine and Daniel.
Memorial visitation will be held on Friday, July 30th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Military honors will begin at 11:30am. A Mass will be celebrated immediately following at St. Mary and St. Andrew’s Church, 137 S. Main St., Ellenville.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Tony’s name to the Randy Percoco Scholarship Fund c/o Ellenville School District, 28 Maple Ave, Ellenville, NY 12428.