In Loving Memory – Louis A. Capozzoli

Louis A. Capozzoli    U.S. Marine

Louis A. Capozzoli U.S. Marine

June 12, 1924 – August 25, 2004

We  honor our father and praise his accomplishments.

Barbara Capozzoli Bellis and Linda Capozzoli Herbst

______________________

Our father’s passing was one of the saddest times of our lives but his life was certainly not sad. We called this accomplished man, “daddy”.  He  lived a rich and wonderful life for 80 years leaving us enduring memories of what he stood for, his accomplishments, and experiences. He loved his family, and his heritage, maintaining communication with them until he could no longer. His wish is that we continue communication and close relationships with Capozzoli family members, as he did, to preserve its history and legacy.

Louis was a U.S. Marine, a journalist, an artist, a woodworker, a handyman, a devoted father, grandfather, and  husband. He was also a man of strength, honesty, intellect, and creativity. He was handsome, a dancer, a competitive game player, loyal to the core, and a perfectionist.

Louis Anthony Lawrence Capozzoli was born in 1924, in Flushing, New York. He was the second of three boys born to Maryann and John A. Capozzoli. He was second generation Italian. Louis’ brothers were John and Edward Capozzoli.

Louis was a member of what the news media calls the “Greatest Generation”. When he shared WWII stories, he would say,”I joined the Marines at 17 and hit the beach at Guadalcanal in 1942″. He didn’t hesitate. His country needed him and he answered the call. In our modern world of today, who among us would be willing to quit everything and on 24 hour notice leave family, and friends, behind? Then, travel to the far corners of the world for an unknown number of years with no assurance of ever returning.  That is what he did at age 17. He was a patriot, like many others of his generation, who risked their lives for the United States to prevent the spread of tyranny. His service in the South Pacific, Guadalcanal, Bouganville, New Caledonia, and Guam, lasted 3 years.

When this tour was over he was transferred to Iona Island, in New York, where he met Jane Frances Flannery.  They were married in 1945 and ordered to Florida. Their first born, Barbara, came into the world in 1946.  Louis was transferred to Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C.  In 1950, he attended the U.S. Navy School of Journalism in Great Lakes, graduating top in his class. This marked the path he would take professionally, both in the military and as a civilian.

Jane, Louis, (Baby) Linda, and Barbara

Jane, Louis, (Baby) Linda, and Barbara

The family moved to the West coast  in 1950 and purchased their first home in Whittier, California.  Linda was born in 1951. By December 1953, Louis had orders to report to El Toro Marine Base. He was to sail to Japan and Korea for his tour of duty. His service in the Korean War lasted 3 more years where he served as a combat correspondent, writing stories and covering the activities of war.

Like other military families, there was a lot of relocating. In 1954, Louis was stationed in San Diego and soon after transferred to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He served as a Public Information Officer and Editor of the “Chevron”, the base newspaper. Louis was again stationed in California where he purchased the second family home in Santa Ana, California. He sent for his family in Milwaukee. Louis chose to re-enlist another 4 years serving 16 years in the Marine Corps in 1958.

When transferred to El Toro, Louis became the Editor of the “Flight Jacket”. He also took the role of “Beat Correspondent” for the air facility, covering stories, photos, and activities of six helicopter squadrons and their personnel.

Louis retired from the Marine Corps after serving 20 years, in 1961.

In 1962, the home in Tustin was purchased. As a civilian, Louis chose to continue his journalism career by working as the night Editor of the Santa Ana Register. He continued his connection with the military by writing a weekly column, “The Orange County Military Beat”. His column made its debut January 4, 1964. The column appeared in every Sunday paper for the next 15 years. It covered individual, unit activities, and other items pertaining to the Orange County military community. A poll was taken in 1970 showing his column was read every Sunday by 320,000 people.

During his military career, civilian career, work as a journalist, and lifetime as a military correspondent, Louis received numerous awards, certificates of merit, and commendations. He was known and respected by many.   After retirement from the Register, he continued his contact with the Combat Correspondents Organization for which he was a member for many years. He continued to maintain friendships with his military buddies and their wives. Many of these dear friends attended Louis’ 80th  birthday party, June 12, 2004, given by his daughters and family. Though, quite ill at the time, it was quite a reunion for him and made him very happy.

Over the last two weeks of his life, daddy taught us that one measure of a man’s life is the way you choose to leave this world. He left with dignity and with grace. He was a soldier who never quit fighting, never surrendered, and never gave up. He was an inspiration and powerful role model to us because of his strength and courage in the face of such pain. He remained strong, sharp, and kept his sense of humor to his last breath. Despite all of it, he enjoyed his smuggled in Italian meals and played mind sharpening word games with us to pass the time. He always loved playing games with his family and they were played “by the book”. We held his hands, shared our love, and thanked him for all that he did for us. We were left with many lessons, “When you think you can’t go on…you can! When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.

Daddy, we will never forget. Your memory will never die. We love you.

Barbara and Linda

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