Gerald Henry Trabucco, lifelong resident of Wappingers Falls, husband of 67 years, father of six boys, B-24 pilot and 33 year employee of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company passed away on November 5, 2018, at the age of 98.
Jerry’s life reads like a tour of 20th Century small town America. Born on July 8, 1920, he grew up in the Village on Clapp Avenue in duplex housing built for employees in the 1800’s by the Dutchess Bleachery, which was the major employer in the village for decades.
Jerry’s grandfather, Gugliermo (William), emigrated from Italy in the 1880’s and established a small business on East Main Street in the building that now houses Wheel & Heel. An old photo showing the building bearing a sign for Trabucco and Son Bootmaker and Leather Repair resides in the Village archives.
Mary (Marriott) Trabucco, also known as Mamie, married Gugliermo’s son Thomas and gave birth to one daughter and six sons, one of whom (David) survives and lives with his wife Sally in Yorktown Heights, New York. Jerry and his siblings attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and graduated from Wappingers Falls High School.
Jerry left Wappingers for the land grant college at Purdue in 1939, and his first big adventure was hitchhiking to the Banks of the Wabash in Indiana to enroll. Like other young men of his era, his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of WW II. He followed his older brother and hero, Tom, into the Army Air Force. Major Thomas Francis Trabucco, who ultimately flew a P-51 Mustang fighter, went down over France in 1945 and was killed. His name is engraved on the memorial stone plaque in Mesier Park along with 16 additional Wapperians who gave their lives in that War, a very large number for a small community.
Jerry was in bombers and he earned his pilots wings in the B-24. On a training mission 50 miles off the coast of Virginia in 1942 his plane lost three of its four engines. Jointly with the other pilot and the navigator they got the aircraft back over land and brought it and all ten aboard down alive on a very short strip used by naval aviators for carrier deck landing practice. Ground contact was very rough, but not a crash landing. Nevertheless the trauma resulted in Jerry being wrapped in a full-body cast for six months and his piloting days were over. When he returned to duty he provided ground guidance for missions by members of his squadron along the East Coast until he was honorably discharged in 1945.
After the war Jerry returned to Purdue to finish college and earn his degree in science. He then returned to Wappingers Falls to marry the love of his life, Mary Lyons, in 1947 and begin working for Central Hudson. Their first son arrived in 1948, followed by five more. All survive: Mike (Sallyann), Tom (Lilly), Jerry (Diane), Rich (Jane), John (Kris) and Don. Jerry and Mary’s progeny also include fifteen grandchildren :Michael (Jennifer) Trabucco, Kevin (Chris) Trabucco , Andrea (Mike) Fanelli , Ted, Elizabeth and Joe Trabucco, Andrew Trabucco, Laura (Jake) Fay, Evan (Ruby) Trabucco , Tony, Vinnie, and Jerry Trabucco (Hannah Rhodes), as well as Timmy, Brian and Caitlyn Trabucco. Seven great grandchildren include Kyle John Fay, Cameron Diane Fay, Rilee Grace Trabucco, Jake Trabucco, Judah and Margaret Trabucco of Alton Illinois, and Gavin Fanelli.
Jerry was a lifelong communicant of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. He was a long time regular at Sunday Mass, although he was thankful to be granted a dispensation from the Sunday obligation in recent years.
Consistent with his self-effacing personality, modesty, and long-held aversion to ceremonial activities absent some high purpose, Jerry’s preference was to not have a viewing or wake. At his passing his simple wish was to have his local priest celebrate a Mass of Christian burial and inter his remains at St.Mary's Cemetery along with Mary who passed away in 2015. He did ask that invitation be extended to all interested parties who would like to join in the celebration of his burial Mass at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, November 13. For Condolences or directions, visit www.delehantyfuneral.com Jerry was a boy and man of the village. During latter-day drives through the countryside he would often remark that despite the pastoral beauty of many rural Dutchess County locations, he could never enjoy living in such remote and isolated settings after living in the village. In his later years he often wondered aloud what happened to a lost banner that was strung across the bridge over the falls in Wappingers after the War to welcome back his youthful contemporaries who were known as the Bridge Boys. Now is his time. Make way. The Bridge Boy is going home.
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