Joseph Vaccarino, 85, Little Italy grocerJoseph C...

April 20, 1996

Joseph Vaccarino, 85, Little Italy grocer

Joseph C. Vaccarino, founder and owner of the Sun of Italy Wholesale Grocery who always wore a rose in his lapel, died Wednesday of heart failure at Sinai Hospital. The Overlea resident was 85.

He was born and raised in Little Italy. His parents emigrated from the Province of Catania in Sicily and opened Apicella's grocery store, where he worked in his youth.

He was a graduate of St. Leo's Parochial School. After organizing the Riveria Pleasure Club and operating an Italian restaurant on Millers Island, he acquired the Sun of Italy label in 1934 and established the Sun of Italy Wholesale Grocery.

Mr. Vaccarino specialized in imported canned tomatoes, olive oil, cheeses and other Italian groceries, which he supplied to independent grocers in Baltimore, Washington and Virginia.

Initially operating the food brokerage from a small Pratt Street office, Mr. Vaccarino later moved to a vacant synagogue at High and Stiles streets, where he directed the business until selling it in 1982 to Pastore's Wholesale Grocers and retiring.

He was a charter member of the Italian-American Civic Club and served for more than 50 years in various capacities with the organization, including president. He originated the "Italian Hour" WCBM Radio. He was awarded the Star of Solidarity and the title of Commendatore from Italian President Antonio Segni in 1963 for his efforts promoting Italian culture.

He was past president of the Overlea-Fullerton Recreation Council and helped Baltimore County acquire the athletic fields that once were known as "Vaccarino Field." He later co-chaired the dedication of the Overlea-Fullerton Community Center, which was erected on the site.

A rose fancier, Mr. Vaccarino enjoyed growing prize roses and was seldom without one in his lapel.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church, Belair Road and Willow Ave., Overlea.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, the former Lauretta Totaro; a son, Isadore "John" Vaccarino of Ellicott City; two daughters, Sally Clocker of Baltimore and Philippa Owen of Agawam, Mass.; a sister, Frances Fiore of Baltimore; 10 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Charlotte J. Conaway, 65, Social Security employee

Charlotte J. Conaway, a longtime government worker and jazz enthusiast, died Monday of cancer at Stella Maris Hospice. She was 65.

Born Charlotte Johnson, she was a 1948 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School, and attended what was then Morgan State College before enlisting in the Navy in 1951. She was honorably discharged in 1953 and began work at the Social Security Administration.

She held many positions at the SSA, including manager and supervisor of the certification division.

She also worked for the Health Care Financing Administration, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, as a program analyst. She oversaw health care quality and safety standards for Medicare and Medicaid.

She married Fred W. Conaway in 1963 and lived in Northwest Baltimore. They divorced in the mid-1970s. She retired in 1988.

Mrs. Conaway enjoyed jazz and often attended weekend shows in Hampton, Va., Newport, R.I. and Philadelphia. She had a vast collection of jazz albums, tapes and compact discs.

Services are scheduled for 1 p.m. today at Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Ave. Memorial contributions may be made to Union Baptist Church Child First program.

She is survived by a son, Jason Conaway of Dover, Del.; a brother, James Johnson of Baltimore; three sisters, Audrey Davis, Doris Martyn and Bettye Fitzgerald, all of Baltimore; a daughter in-law, Sarena Conaway of Fishers, Ind.; and two grandchildren.

Richard A. Dean, 66, commercial pilot

Richard A. Dean, a commercial pilot who flew planes for the Flying Tiger Line, died Tuesday of cancer at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Towson resident was 66.

Mr. Dean said that the Boeing 747 was his favorite plane to fly.

"He always said, 'The bigger they are the easier they are to fly,' " said his wife of eight years, the former Helen Mon.

Mr. Dean, a mechanical engineer, began his career as a flight engineer for Trans-Ocean Air Line. In 1955, he joined Flying Tiger Line, from which he retired in 1989.

For many years, he maintained homes in Sacramento, Calif., and Towson. He moved to Towson after ending his aviation career.

In addition to flying commercially, he owned and operated a charter air service, which he sold when he retired.

Born and raised in Oakland, Calif., Mr. Dean was a member of the Air Line Pilots Association.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at the Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity, 1809 Vista Lane, Lutherville.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Mark T. Dean of Fresno, Calif.; a brother, Ronald Dean of Sacramento; his stepmother, Virginia Dean of Clearlake, Calif.; two stepsons, Jeffrey C. Mon and Joseph M. Mon Jr., both of Baltimore; two grandchildren; and two stepgrandchildren.

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