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Tony Pirozzi Obituary

Tony  Pirozzi
Tony Pirozzi

December 12, 1937 - August 13, 2020
Born in Ischia, Italy
Resided in Rancho Palos Verdes, California
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Obituary

Tony Pirozzi, 82, passed away on August 13, 2020 with his wife of 58 years, Filomena “Cookie” and children by his side. Tony is survived by his wife Filomena, his children Jerry (Toni), Domenic, Anthony (Carolyn) and Amy (Christian), his eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren, his sisters Teresa Racowschi, Nicolina Ferrigno, Angelina (Giovanni) Ferrigno, and brother Vince (Mary) Pirozzi, nieces, nephews and friends. Tony is preceded in death by his parents Maria and Ciro, and sister Maria (DiScala).

Tony was born on December 12, 1937 on the beautiful island of Ischia, Italy and in 1956 made the journey to America with his parents and sister Angelina to begin a new life of opportunity! They arrived in San Pedro on April 5th and began the transition into the new world. This journey led Tony to his beloved wife, Cookie, who were married in 1961.

As a boy in Italy, Tony was fascinated with radio and he took that interest with him to America, where he earned a technical degree from the National Technical School in Los Angeles. There Tony learned to fix televisions and radios, as well as electronic theory and applications. In 1965, Tony opened his trademark business in San Pedro, Tony’s TV Sales and Service, which served the community for the next 43 years.

Tony had a strong passion to promote the Italian culture in his new country. In 1957, he would join the Gianni Lauro Italian Radio Program on radio station KTYM in Inglewood on Sunday afternoons, to report soccer scores from Italy. He used a shortwave radio to receive the scores from Italy and shared them in his broadcast. Tony would eventually branch off and start his own radio program. He broadcasted on radio for 47 years.

Tony’s passion was always the game of soccer and rooting for his favorite team Napoli. In 1958, he started the Olympia Soccer Club and entered the team into the Greater Los Angeles Soccer League in 1960. He established the Italian Sports Association, which became the Italian-American Club, to sponsor Olympia by bringing local Italians together through fundraisers, such as dinner dances. Olympia climbed to the status of a semi-professional soccer team by 1965. In 1969, Tony took a break from managing soccer, until 1973, when he returned to manage and form the San Pedro Italian Soccer Club. The club’s peak moment was in 1979, when it captured the First Division Championship of the Greater Los Angeles Soccer League.

During the 1982 World Cup, Tony would tell his radio listeners that “when” Italy wins the World Cup final against West Germany to meet for a celebration at his shop on 12th and Gaffey in San Pedro -- and when Italy did win, 2,000 people showed up! The streets were filled with fans, Italian flags waving, and a car painted in the Italian flags colors! It was a first of its kind celebration in San Pedro!

Tony’s most memorable soccer moment came in 1987 when he went to Naples to watch the game that would secure Napoli as the Serie A Championship for the first time in club history. He called into his Sunday Radio program live from the stadium to report the score and that Napoli was the champion of Italy! Most recently, he was able to watch the 2020 Coppa Italia final, which Napoli beat rival Juventus to capture the cup! He would later watch his last Napoli game a few days before his passing.

In addition to soccer and radio, Tony’s other significant contribution to promoting Italian heritage was his role in presenting Italian music to audiences across Los Angeles. In 1960, Gianni Lauro brought the number one singer in Italy, Claudio Villa, one of Tony’s favorite Italian singers, to the Shrine Auditorium and asked Tony to be the master of ceremonies for the concert. This was an honor for Tony as Claudio was his favorite singer. In the 1980’s and 90’s Tony produced and promoted Italian concerts at the Warner Grand Theatre, the Hollywood Palladium, and many other theatres. These concerts included Albano and Romina Power, Toto Cutugno, Ricchi e Poveri, Nicola Di Bari, Massimo Ranieri, Pupo, Gigi D'Alessio and many others.

As much as Tony loved promoting his Italian culture, the most important part of his life was his family. He enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren, whether over a dish of his wife’s great pasta, watching soccer games, talking and laughing together, or just having coffee or milk with cookies, as he would call Soupy-Soupy. His passing has left a big hole in many, which will be filled with our memories of his passion, kindness, friendship, generosity, and especially his smile. May he rest in peace.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the National Kidney Foundation, www.kidney.org. A funeral mass will be offered on Friday, August 21, 10:00 a.m. at Mary Star of the Sea Church followed by interment at Green Hills Memorial Park.

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Service
Mary Star of the Sea Church
877 W. 7th Street
San Pedro, CA US 90731
Friday, August 21, 2020
10:00 AM