Stephen Cannizzaro, 90

Commissary officer

December 10, 2006

Stephen Angelo Cannizzaro, a retired commissary officer and bingo fan, died of heart failure Dec. 2 at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. The longtime Hamilton resident was 90.

His parents emigrated from Sicily in the late 1800s, passing through Ellis Island, N.Y., and first settling in Baltimore's Little Italy neighborhood.

Mr. Cannizzaro, one of 11 children, was born there and spent much of his youth living in Philadelphia. He worked as a dishwasher and later was a chef at the old Kugler's Restaurant on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in the early days of World War II, and after completing basic training was sent to India as a cook.

To ensure that the servicemen in his care had the comforts of home, he traded items he didn't need for coffee, sugar, milk and candy, family members said.

While he was in the service, several of his aunts who worked for a Baltimore tailor encouraged a young co-worker, Alberta DeLegge, to write letters to Mr. Cannizzaro.

"She did, and when they finally met after he was honorably discharged from the military in 1945, it was love at first sight, and they were married in 1946 and had two children," said Michelle S. Moser, a granddaughter, of Rochester, Mich.

Mrs. Cannizzaro, a homemaker, died in 2001.

Mr. Cannizzaro worked as a commissary officer at Fort Holabird for 27 years until retiring in 1973. He also had a part-time job as a carpenter.

"He was a devoted member of the Knights of Columbus, which honored him as its Man of the Year once. He was a fixture at the organization's Monday night bingo games, where he sold cards. The week he died, he postponed his surgery from Monday until Tuesday so he wouldn't miss bingo," Mrs. Moser said.

Mr. Cannizzaro enjoyed playing pinochle, reading and doing crossword puzzles.

He was a longtime communicant of St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church in Hamilton, where a funeral Mass was offered Wednesday.

Also surviving are a son, Gregory J. Cannizzaro of Hamilton; a daughter, Stephanie C. Strunge of Towson; two brothers, Angelo Cannizzaro and John Cannizzaro, both of Philadelphia; two sisters, Josephine Caranci of Cape May, N.J., and Connie Garofalo of Philadelphia; and three other grandchildren.

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