World War II, Korean War
Medals and awards: Korean War Campaign Medal with three bronze stars, American Service Medal, European African Middle Eastern Medal, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal
Weapons: Rifle cal 30/MK158 and 45 cal pistol M1-11
Anthony LaSpada, U.S. Army
Married: Nov. 10, 1955, to Doris (Davis) at Holy Trinity Catholic Parish. The ceremony was performed by Msgr. Bernado. A large reception was later held at the Frank Acquavia American Legion Post on Lake Shore Drive West. Toasting the newly wed couple were sister and maid of honor Josephine Zanghi and best man Michael Puglisi.
Children: Dominic, Palma, Deborah, David, Joan and Audrey
Grandchildren: Tom Petz, Mark Petz, Matthew LaSpada, Sarah LaSpada, Rachael LaSpada, Micheal LaSpada, Jessica LaSpada, Cheryl Brown, Amanda Brown, Bryson Pacos, Tex Watkins and Christopher Gary
Anthony LaSpada was born at home on Aug. 26, 1928. His birth certificate showed he was the 341st baby born in the city of Dunkirk in the year of 1928. Anthony's father Dominick worked at Dunkirk's Alco Plant in the machine shop. Anthony's mother Palma (Biaigani) was a homemaker. She also spent much time helping neighbors and enjoyed helping out in the hall at Holy Trinity with any event the parish planned.
Anthony attended Dunkirk's School 4, where he became friends with Dominic Rossoto, Joe Dominico and Lenny Catalano. These four often played softball, basketball and backyard football. They spent time with the Junior Holy Name Society and later as the Adult Holy Name Society at their local parish. They helped out at the church by painting, shoveling snow and helping set up the auditorium for dances and fund-raisers. They enjoyed hanging out at the local hot spot on Central Avenue called Candy Land, where they would get to meet others their age and talk about school, sports and girls. During hot summers, the group would go swimming and diving at Point Gratiot and the breakwall. Many swimmers, including others from their class, would also swim at the breakwall.
Our country was still in its final stages of World War II when Anthony graduated. Now that he was of age, he decided he wanted to serve his country. Though the war in Europe had ended when our country defeated the German army, the Marines and Navy were still in the Pacific taking islands and building airstrips in order to make the flight to Japan's mainland shorter. Even with the island victories, the war still had some of its bloodiest days ahead by landing American forces on Japan's mainland.
Anthony went to boot camp with orders to ship him off to the west coast. Then word came over the radio on Aug. 6, 1945, that an Army Air Corps Commander named Paul Tibbetts flew his B-29 superfortress named after his mother (the Enola Gay) and dropped a new type of nuclear bomb named Fat Boy over Hiroshima, Japan, killing over 60,000 Japanese.
A few days later another bomb named Little Boy was dropped over Nagasaki. This brought World War II to its end. Though the war over, Anthony wasn't given the green light to go home. He spent the remaining years of his active service obligation doing clerical work.
With his active Army obligation behind him, Anthony wanted to take advantage of this new GI bill that was passed by Congress, so he went to Buffalo State to start his college education. While there, he found an interest in the meat-cutting field. After some research, Anthony transferred to a different school in Ohio to learn the trade of being a meat cutter. At first many of his friends would ask him why he wanted to be a butcher. His reply was he wasn't going to be a butcher, explaining that a butcher is one who slaughters an animal, dresses their flesh and then sells the meat. A meat cutter works in a registered trade that deals with primal cuts, cutting the carcass down to size.
Anthony graduated and became instrumental in founding the Brigham Food Market as a partner with Dominic and Tony Zanghi.
There he worked behind the meat counter. All was going well until one day an accident occurred resulting in a severe cut to his hand.
While recovering, Anthony learned from the newspaper that trouble was brewing in Korea. A few weeks later, he received word that he had to report back to the Army. This time he would be heading for a small police action, a police action that later became known as a proxy war, and later the received the name the forgotten war.
Anthony was an MP (military police) and rifleman in Korea.
After the Korean War ended, Anthony went back to school at the local college in Fredonia.
He started classes in the elementary education field with the intention to go into the speech field. While at this college, he met Doris Davis from Saint James. Doris, while participating in the school's extracurricular activities, ran the campus radio station WCVF which broadcasted college information and music to the campus.
The couple got involved with the school's theater and campus TV productions. They loved making stage scenes and sets. The two were also involved in the speech corrections department which was just starting a new field.
That new field later proved to be a very important part of the campus. It helped young children.
After graduation, the couple married in 1955. They built their home on Brigham Road. One year Anthony was given a script written by Ed McClenathan and was asked if he would help with the local event. The production was called "The High Fever Follies," a play that featured local singing and dancing talent.
Loving the script so much, Anthony also sang and danced in it. The play ran each year for five years. Anthony loved music and teaching it. Along with entertaining he spent a lot of time with the boy scouts as a troop leader. He took a group of local boy scouts to the National 1 Month Boy Scout Jamboree in Philmont, N.M. This was like the super bowl of boy scouting. Along with scouting, Anthony found time for his fellow veterans as a county vice commander in the American Legion.
After 30 years of service with the New York state Department of Transportation as a principal engineer tech, Anthony retired on Sept. 15, 1988.
His duties had been in soils, stone, concrete and special materials used in road and bridge building or other state construction projects. His area of responsibility was Region 5 in Buffalo.
Anthony LaSpada joined the service after the defeat of Hitler, when his country was preparing for an invasion of Japan's homeland. This invasion was confirmed to be one of the largest known to man. Anthony knew the outcomes of the prior island invasions of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Tarawa and Okinawa that showed Americans that the Japanese would defend their homeland until their last man was standing.
This meant the loss of many more Americans. In the planning stages, the estimated loss for the invasion was for over 100,000 Americans in just the first week.
Due to the Freedom of Information Act, I was able to learn that the United States Department of Defense had ordered an additional 650,000 purple heart medals to have ready to award its wounded just for this invasion. Anthony was ready for this invasion, but thanks to the invention of a bomb, he never had to go.
We lost our local hero Anthony LaSpada on Sept. 17, 2002.