GIRARD, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – In the wee hours of Saturday morning, September 3, 2022 my daddy’s angel wings were ready and he took flight to his heavenly home. Leo Joseph Barreca, 93, with his daughter at his side, lost his battle with the demons of Vascular Dementia and most recently, Leukemia.
Dad was born on April 2, 1929, the second son to Joseph Leo Barreca and Antoinette (Chila) Barreca.
He was a 1947 graduate of Girard High School.
After graduation he worked alongside his father at the family owned grocery store/meat market, first on Liberty Street then moving to the exact spot where the old Sparkle Market building stands today. After my grandfather passed away his life took a different direction.
By this time he had married the “love of his life” Angie (Sherock) Barreca on October 14, 1950 at St. Rose Church in Girard, Ohio.
For a short time he worked at Commercial Shearing and then moved onto work for the Ohio Chair Company where his involvement as a union man began, serving as Recording Secretary for the Union Local. Being a butcher by trade and family lineage, when 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 pick up a case of meat and couldn’t get back up.)
Leo was a lifelong member of St. Rose Church. There he gave selflessly of his time being an alter server at Funeral Masses and every Thursday without fail he went to help Frank B with whatever work needed to be done. When the church began a 14 years run of the St. Rose Festival, you could find him on the grounds helping with setup. When the festival opened you could find him manning the beer tent with Harry (thanks Dad your presence made Linda and mines life much easier).
Dad was a member of the Sons of Italy, the IFH (Italian Fraternal Home) and the Knights of Columbus #2935. He played bocce summer/winter at the IFH, where he was a member of “The Ballbusters”, never missing the “feast” or the opportunity to grab his “last bologna sangwich” this past July. Leo was both a 3rd and 4th Degree Knight. During summer and spring you could find him at the Mahoning Country Club cooking for the golfers, then during Lent he grabbed his apron and was off to fry fish during 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 see his beloved Joe DiMaggio and the New York Yankees play the Indians. Although he was a die hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, his passion was for the Indianapolis 500, so much so that for 30 years, 1962-1992 he never missed a race (except that one time in 1963 when mom made him stay home because she was due anytime with my little sis, Car. The one and only year his favorite driver Parnelli Jones won the race.) I will always remember the smell of peppers and eggs as mom filled a cooler full of sandwiches for the trip, or the wafting smell of fried chicken coming next door as Aunt Phyllis did the same. Once packed full, Dad, Uncle Pete (Gelsomino), Uncle Mike (Ianucci) and Uncle Bill (Nastasi) were off to the races. Eventually Eric and Car joined in on the fun.
Leo was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Joe; his wife, Angie; his sister, Carmel (Barreca) Welch; his “adopted son”, Eric Gelsomino and three weeks later his “little baby girl”, Carla.
He leaves to cherish his memory his daughter, Kathleen, with whom he resided; his nephew, Leo of Akron and two Godsons, John Pugliese of Texas and Greg Costantino of McDonald. He also leaves his adopted grandkids, Eric and Gina Gelsomino and also his grandfur kids, Ittybittykitty and Smudge.
I would like to thank Father Korda for his prayers and comfort during this difficult time and Father Jordan from St. Rose who also reached out. Thank you Dr. Enyeart and his staff and Dr. Charles Wilkins and his crew. A very special thank you to Jackie from Comfort Keepers (Daddy loved you so much) who took care of him like he was her own. Lastly, my heartfelt gratitude and thankfulness to Hospice of the Valley. 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 Bless.
Funeral services will be held Sunday, September 11, at 7:00 p.m. at Blackstone Funeral Home where family will receive relatives and friends from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Leo will be laid to rest next to his wife and daughter at Calvary Cemetery.
Monetary donations can be made to St. Jude Research, Angels for Animals or the family to help defray costs.
“I Love You Daddy”
Visit www.blackstonefuneralhome.com to send any expressions of sympathy to the family.
A television tribute will air Sunday, September 11 at the following approximate times: 8:58 a.m. on FOX and 9:58 p.m. on MyYTV.