Rocco R. Pasquale, War Hero, Chess Organizer and adored father passed away at the age of 92 on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, while receiving loving care at the New Hampshire Veteran’s Home in Tilton. He was born on January 30, 1922, in Fitchburg, Mass.
Rocco was married for over 56 years to the late Joan (Burt) Pasquale, who passed away at the age of 78, in May of 2007, in Beverly Hills, Florida. Rocco and Joan raised their three children in Rindge, NH. In their retirement years they lived in Beverly Hills, Florida.
Rocco was born the son of Italian immigrants, Filomena (Minicucci) Pasquale and Berardino “William” Pasquale, who hailed from the region of Abruzzo, Italy. Rocco was raised in Fitchburg, Mass, among 6 siblings: the late Rose (Perry), Elsie (Sherrin), Lena (Boulay), and brother Anthony; he is survived by brothers William and Raymond. Rocco is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Rocco enlisted in the Army on Oct 2, 1942 and separated from the Army with an Honorable Discharge on Nov 7, 1945. He served in the storied 1st Infantry (“The Big Red One”) Division as a Radio Operator. Military operations included North Africa (facing the storied Nazi Panther Division), Sicily, England, France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.
Rocco participated in the “D-Day Invasion”, landing as the 3rd wave on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France on June 5, 1944. He described the chaos and horror in one of his letters home to his family…”The 16th regiment went in at about 6am… to establish a beachhead….the 18th regiment went in about 10am and found the 16th all battered up with dead and wounded, gaining only about 50 to 60 yards…the 18th got slaughtered…(my regiment) the 26th invaded about 2pm…found only dead and wounded and the live ones dugged in the sand fox holes…we dug our fox holes on the water line and stayed in position until dusk, sweating out the incoming tide. (Starting with 30,000 men) the remaining 12,000 men got over the cliffs and into attack for 6 days and nights.”
It was in France where Rocco earned a Bronze Star…”For heroic achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy in Caumont, Normandy, France, 4 July 1944. Although the building in which he was located was hit and severely damaged during a heavy bombardment by enemy artillery and mortars, Private Pasquale, a radio operator, heroically remained at his post and maintained a vital channel of communication.”
In addition to the Bronze Star, Rocco was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Victory Medal, European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon with Bronze Service Arrowhead, and the Belgian Fourragere for action in the Ardennes-Alsace Campaign.
After the war, Rocco met his wife Joan at a dance in Jaffrey, NH, and was married soon thereafter. They settled in Rindge, where Rocco worked for the US Postal Service as a Special Delivery Driver covering both Fitchburg and Leominster, MA, until his retirement at the age of 55.
Rocco had many varied interests, including organizing and serving as President of the Wachusett Chess Club, Fitchburg, MA in February of 1960. The highlight of Rocco’s chess career was playing the future World Champion of Chess, Bobby Fischer, in March, 1964. In October of 1972 Rocco who was then a well-known chess organizer formed a brand new chess club at the Keene YMCA known as the Monadnock Chess Club and served as President until he retired in 1977.
Rocco also loved ballroom dancing, he wrote a play, music lyrics and poetry as well as served as a correspondent for several newspapers covering his beloved chess clubs.
Rocco also enjoyed going to drive-ins and those who know him may recall his invention of window screens for his little VW. Additionally, he loved horse and dog races, Boston College Football Games, Bingo and card games.
Rocco is well remembered by his children, nieces and nephews, family and friends who were his guests during the annual family vacations at Hampton Beach, NH.
Rocco loved life and his family; Pam Koski and her spouse Wayne Koski of Jaffrey, and their son Eric Koski and his wife Kim and son Corey; Deborah Proterra of New Canann, CT and her children David and Tracy (Olmstead) and her spouse Reid and daughter Fiona; Jan Pasquale and his spouse Karen of South Salem, NY and their children Michael and Elyse.
A private military graveside service was held at The Hillside Cemetery in Rindge, NH on October 30, 2014. A memorial service will take place at a later date.
Memorial contributions can be made to the NH Veteran’s Home specifying the donation for the Resident Activity Fund, 139 Winter Street, Tilton, NH 03276 and/or the Monadnock Adult Care Center, 22 North Street, Jaffrey NH 03452.