Rocco Pallone, Professor of Modern Languages, dies at 88.
Rocco Pallone passed into eternal rest on March 12, 2023, at his long-time home in White Plains. Born in Roccasecca, Italy, to Filippo and Maria (née Capuano), as a young boy he witnessed first-hand the historic WWII Battle of Monte Cassino in the winter of 1944 where the Allied Army conducted one of the war’s major bombing campaigns to help break through the German Gustav Line, a heavily fortified defensive line built to prevent the Allies from advancing to Rome. Upon completing his primary education in 1955 in Italy, he immigrated to the United States on the passenger ship Saturnia.
After serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Eustis, VA, he earned his B.A. from the City University of New York under the GI Bill and his Master’s and Ph.D. from New York University. In 1963, Professor Pallone received his first teaching assignment at Manchester Regional High School in Heldon, NJ, which began an uninterrupted 60-year career of teaching students foreign languages and Italian literature at virtually every academic level. For over 30 years, he was a tenured professor in the Department of Modern Languages at Fordham University, including serving multiple terms as department chair, with numerous scholarly publications in his field of expertise, Italian literature.
Educating others was his lifelong passion and Professor Pallone remained an active educator well after his formal retirement from Fordham, teaching classes at Westchester Community College and tutoring students on a regular basis, including throughout the pandemic which required him to learn to teach through video chats well into his 80s. As a result of his long career in teaching, Professor Pallone frequently ran into former students throughout the tri-state area who fondly recalled his lectures on the great Italian poets Dante, Boccaccio, and Manzoni. On the afternoon of his death, he conducted one final tutoring session for a long-time student and corrected one final essay for his granddaughter.
Professor Pallone is survived by Maria (née Mignone), his loving wife of 55 years; his sister, Loretta DiNota, and brother, Gaetano; daughter, Mary Potenza married to Michael, and son, Philip married to Diane (née Barry); and six adored grandchildren: Regina, Natalia, and Maria Potenza; and William Rocco, Cara, and Jack Pallone.
Visitation will be held on Friday, March 17, at Yannantuono Burr Davis Sharpe Funeral Home in Mount Vernon from 4pm to 8pm. Mass of the Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 18, at Annunciation Parish in Crestwood at 10am, followed by internment at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in New Rochelle. The family will host a reception for all family and friends following the interment at Leewood Golf Club (1 Leewood Drive, Eastchester, NY 10709).
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Enrico Fermi Educational Foundation to support scholarships to students of Italian descent in Westchester. Donations can be made payable to Enrico Fermi Educational Fund of Yonkers with the memo: In Memory of Rocco Pallone. Mail to Enrico Fermi Foundation, Attn: Treasurer, 10 Alpha Street, Yonkers, NY 10707. Call (914) 589-1519 with any questions.
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