In Memory

Onorio Greco

Pasadena Star-News (CA) - December 12, 2007

GRECO-Onorio 1921-2007. The oldest of 8 children and recognizing that there were too many mouths to feed at home in Arpino, Italy, Onorio Greco set out for America on a ship in September 1938 all alone at the age o f 16. Arriving in New York 9 days later, he quickly found his way to Detroit, MI in hopes of landing a job in the automotive industry. Marrying the girl next door in 1944 and beginning to raise a family while attending night school to learn English, his plan was to head west to find a better life for all. In 1948 and after 10 years at Ford Motor Company, he moved his family to California where he established his final roots and together with his wife Anna of 60+ years raised three children. It was his life long goal to make sure his children had it better than he did. Though he never attended school past the 5th grade in Italy, he constantly spoke of getting a good education. He saw to it that his three boys had every opportunity to do so. He was most proud and felt fulfilled when all earned college degrees. In the early family days, he would work two jobs (full time during the day and part time during the evening) but still found time to participate in the Boy Scout Programs, Little League Baseball and High School Football. He was tireless and generous with everything he had, especially his time. His eagerness to learn all he could in the trades and become the true Renaissance man to all he touched proved valuable. He combined his ambitions with years of toil and to use his words, "became very lucky". His phone would ring constantly with requests from school administrators to next-door neighbors. They all seemed to need his skills and trusted his work ethic to be their best possible choice. Working his way up to Director of Maintenance & Operations at the South Pasadena School District, Mr. Greco played a key role in bringing the district facilities into the modern mainstream. His South Pasadena career spanned 6 different school district administrations. He and his men were in every attic, under every building and inside all the walls of every school building in the City. He retired after nearly 20 years on the job. To continue his spirit of participation, he became a Crossing guard at the corner of Marengo a nd Monterey Road. His impact continued. Suffering a stroke at the age of 83, he continued his crossing guard duties for a short time before giving way to the debilitating physical effects. He wanted to see that corner and all the children one more time. Though he considered his family successes as the high note in his life-- the 8 years at the corner of Marengo and Monterey Rd. proved to be most rewarding. The daily interaction with parents and children and his impact was brought to light with the constant flow of cards and letters (sent to 'Greco the crossing guard'). He received regular mail from ex-patriot South Pasadena residents (describing family events, successes and gratitude) from all over the country. This was the true yardstick to measure love for this man and the impact he had on his family and the community. His wife Anna preceded him in death. He is survived by his three sons and their respective families. Ben and Loni Greco of Westchester, Louis and Margaret Greco of Pasadena and Anthony and S usan Greco also of Pasadena. He had six grandchildren Christina, Dan, Chris, Joe, Jaclyn and Nicholas. He was to be a great grandfather in the spring of 2008. God will bless Onorio Greco for loving his family and his community. Funeral Mass will be Friday at 10:30 AM at Holy Family Catholic Church, South Pasadena. Cabot & Sons, Pasadena Directors.

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04/21/09 03:24 PM #1    

Steven S Kane (1966)

I crossed Monterey Road at Marengo on my way to school and back home every day for three school years. Although I believe that Mr. Greco probably took up his crossing guard duties there some time after my time at Marengo Elementary, he should be remembered and honored along with the others who kept children safe at that otherwise dangerous crossing.

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