When Angelo Fazio and Beatrice Yanzen met in the summer of 1941, they were teenagers living in New York City.
He met her at an embroidery shop where she was working.
“She was nice looking, with beautiful blue eyes,” he says.
“He was tall, handsome and very kind” she says of Angelo.
Their fist date was a movie, The Cowboy and the Lady, starring Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon. They stopped for hot dogs at Hiram’s in Fort Lee, N.Y.
They contemplated marriage, but while they were at the home of Angelo’s aunt, Fanny Adamo, listening to the radio, what they heard changed their plans.
“It was Dec. 7, 1941, and the horrible news was that the fiendish Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor,” Beatrice said.
Angelo enlisted in the Navy, serving for three and a half years on Admiralty Islands in the Pacific, repairing ships.
“He was honorably discharged as Merchant’s Mate First Class after the long tour,” Beatrice says.
“We wrote hundreds of letters, sometimes twice a day.”
On Aug. 4, 1946, they were married in St. Joseph’s Church of the Palisades in West New York, N.J. where Beatrice’s parents had been married.
“The good lord blessed us with four children,” she says.
Kathleen, Joseph, Daniel and Andrew “gave us more blessings with seven grandchildren.”
Angelo says, “The Fazio family is very proud, as all Americans, in our participation in the U.S. services.”
Angelo’s father, Joseph, was the first, serving in the Army in World War I.
Son Daniel, a master sergeant in the Navy, is a drill instructor and has served in the Middle East. Son Joseph served as a mortar man in the Fifth Marines, 1st Division, in Vietnam for two and a half years.
Joseph died after a long illness in 2001 at age 51.
Their daughter, Kathleen Rose Grabowski, works at a private high school teaching special students.
“She is very compassionate and they lover her,” Beatrice said.
Their son Andrew, and his son Matthew, live with the Fazios on Marco Island.
“He is a very loving and helpful caretaker,” she said of Andrew.
In the Fazios’ earlier days, they bought a chicken farm in White House Station, N.J.
“Unfortunately the chickens ate better than we did,” Beatrice said. “Then they caught a rare disease and we sold the farm after two and a half years.”
Angelo joined the Heat & Frost Insulators and Asbestos Union, working in that trade until retirement. Beatrice stayed home with the children, later working as a library assistant.
“Angelo hasn’t changed a bit since we first met,” Beatrice says. “He is still like he was when we first fell in love. Of course he always lets me have my way,” she says with a smile.
Angelo says, “Beatrice has always been a good mother and a hard worker. And she still has those beautiful eyes.”