Services were held Saturday for Adolph J. Del Zoppo, a lead bombardier in World War II and a bombardier instructor in the Korean War, who was also an accomplished golfer.
He died Thursday (Sept. 14, 2000) in his home under the care of Niagara Hospice after a lengthy illness.
Del Zoppo, 80, was born in Niagara Falls and attended St. Joseph's School. He was a 1939 graduate of Niagara Falls High School.
During high school, he was on the football and basketball teams and was captain of the basketball team in his senior year. He later pitched for the U.S. Air Force League in Florida and once pitched a no-hitter. He was also active as a pitcher for industrial and independent leagues in the city for many years.
Del Zoppo served in the Army Air Forces from 1942 to 1945. He graduated from preflight school at Ellington Field in Houston and went to advanced bombardier school in Big Spring, Texas. He went overseas with a B-17 Fortress crew and was assigned to the 94th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. He was promoted to first lieutenant and selected lead bombardier, leading the 94th Combat Wing on 16 missions over Germany and France.
He returned to the United States and was assigned to Drew Field in Florida as head instructor of bombing, then was promoted to captain. In 1951, he was recalled to active duty, flying a B-29 as a crew member and instructor for 18 months.
During his military service, he received a Distinguished Flying Cross, four Air Medals and two Presidential Unit Citations.
Del Zoppo worked as a painter for 30 years at Kimberly-Clark Corp. and 16 years at Harrison Radiator Division, General Motors Corp., Lockport, retiring in 1987.
He enjoyed golfing and won several championships. He scored five hole-in-ones.
Del Zoppo is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Rita M. Barto; two sons, Daniel of Las Vegas and Richard of Grand Island; a daughter, Diane Glose; a sister, Bernadine Pinizzotto; five brothers, Albert "Dick" of Ludington, Mich., Orlando of Lockport, Thomas, Vincent "Jim" and Rocco; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
He was buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery.