Victor J. Picchio, 83, assembly line foreman with GM

September 17, 2001|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Victor Joseph Picchio, a World War II veteran and retired General Motors assembly line foreman, died Saturday of heart disease at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. He was 83.

A resident of Owings Mills for 21 years, he was born in Scranton, Pa., and raised in Olyphant, Pa., graduating from public schools there. After high school, he worked for Hudson Coal Co. as a truck driver and laborer and was a volunteer fireman in Olyphant.

Mr. Picchio was introduced to Grace M. DePietro by mutual friends at a church dance; they married in 1942. Shortly afterward he was called to into the war, serving with the Army Air Forces.

"My father was called up, and they were only married for a few months," said his daughter, Barbara Picchio of Owings Mills. "They put him as a cook for all the servicemen. He took training to become a fighter pilot, but they needed someone ... in the kitchen."

Stationed in Panama during the war, he was the chief cook for his base, Ms. Picchio said.

When he returned to Olyphant in 1945, Mr. Picchio went to work for what is now CSX Corp. as a night watchman.

As jobs dried up, he moved his family to Buffalo, N.Y., where he took a job with General Motors on an automobile assembly line. During the last 10 years of his 30-year career he worked as a foreman. He retired in 1980 and moved with his family to Owings Mills.

"He loved the area," said Ms. Picchio, speaking of Baltimore County. "He would say, `Finally a place to see the four seasons as they should be,' because living in Buffalo was mostly winter. He loved to see everything change and how beautiful it was."

While in Baltimore County, the Picchios helped care for Melissa Silverman, who in June became the first person with Down syndrome to receive a full diploma from a Baltimore County high school, and for other children.

"Vic used to take them out to McDonald's for lunch," said Janis Silverman, Melissa's mother. "They've been like family to us, too. Vic would just sit there in his chair and watch Melissa, smiling. Melissa said she's going to miss him a lot."

Mr. Picchio was a parishioner and usher at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Randallstown and was associated with Monsignor Hugh J. Monaehan Post 736 of Catholic War Veterans.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, 9535 Liberty Road.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Rose Ann Picchio of Owings Mills; two brothers, Albert Picchio and Anthony Picchio, both of Scranton, Pa.; and several nephews, nieces, grandnieces and grandnephews.

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