Charles J. Anzalone, 84, a longtime employee of North Collins Central Schools and a decorated World War II veteran, died Tuesday (Sept. 7, 1999) in Tri-County Hospital in Gowanda after suffering a heart attack earlier in the day in his North Collins home.
Born in North Collins, the only boy among six children, Anzalone was a teen-ager coming of age in the Depression when his father died. He went to work for the same brick factory near his home where his father had worked.
After graduating from North Collins High School, Anzalone entered the Army in 1943. He earned the rank of staff sergeant, responsible for a 12-man squad handling a 57 mm anti-tank gun. On Aug. 29, 1945, he was awarded the Bronze Star following combat in the Rhineland and central Germany.
Loyal to his hometown throughout his life, Anzalone lived most of his days in the house his father built. He worked for the school district for 32 years, beginning in 1948, serving as head custodian from 1955 until his retirement in 1980.
He was an avid bowler for Forbush Lumber Co. for many years, anchoring the five-man team for several years.
An enthusiastic card player, Anzalone occupied an essential spot in a weekly pinochle group. He was also chaplain of the North Collins American Legion Post 1640.
After his retirement, he tended the grounds and cemeteries for Holy Spirit Catholic Church in North Collins, earning respect for his calm and meticulous methods.
"He was always working with a smile on his face, doing what he could to help," said Margaret J. Orrange, North Collins town clerk. "He was a gem."
He loved well-crafted cheeseburgers, driving large Oldsmobiles and taking rides through the North Collins countryside with his wife, the former Frances M. Conti, a district music teacher, whom he married in 1948.
He is survived by his wife, of North Collins; a daughter, Charlene of Mayville; a son, Charles M.; and two grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday in Holy Spirit Church, Main Street, North Collins. Prayers will be said at 9:30 in Wentland Funeral Home, 10634 Main St., North Collins.
Burial will be at Holy Spirit Cemetery, North Collins.