Salvatore Petrella '63
1945 - 2023
After a lifetime of service to his country and his community and an unwavering devotion to his loved ones, Salvatore James Petrella died surrounded by his family on October 21, 2023. He was born on October 30, 1945, in Hartford, to the late Frank A. Petrella and Antoinette (Ciarciello) Petrella and moved to Cromwell as a boy where he happily spent the remainder of his life.
He attended Cromwell High School (Class of 1963) where he met Salvatrice Ann Luistro, who he would marry on August 22, 1970, and become his loving and faithful wife of 53 years. Sal and Sally raised three grateful children, Amy E. Neves (Paul), Daniel J. Petrella and his wife Jennifer, and Julie C. Petrella and her husband Edwin Kosinski, Jr., all of Cromwell. He especially cherished time with his four grandchildren, Talia Neves, Tyler Neves, Zachary Petrella and Kaelyn Petrella. He is survived by brother Frank Petrella and wife Lucy of Middlefield as well as a maternal aunt, Angela Saloman and her son William. In addition, he was respected and loved by many cousins, nieces, nephews and four brothers-in-law.
Sal attended Central Connecticut State University (Class of 1968) which fostered a lifetime of reading and learning. Sal had many diverse interests including foreign languages, playing the organ, carpentry, small engine repair, martial arts, nutrition/exercise, cultivating fruit trees and gardening, as well as a love of history and travel. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and rose to the rank of Captain. Sal was immensely proud of his service. Upon seeing a job listing on the wall of the Post Office where he worked, Sal went on to a career with the U.S. Treasury Department as an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent for 25 years. He specialized in arson and explosion investigation and while he would seldom discuss it, he was most proud of his contributions to the "Unabomber" investigation.
Tireless and industrious his entire life, Sal attended the University of Connecticut School of Law (Class of 1977) at night. Upon retirement from the ATF, he started a second chapter in his career, opening a law practice in Cromwell which was later joined by his daughter, Julie. He built a clientele from scratch and eventually specialized in Land Use. Sal drew the admiration and praise of clients for his practical advice and strong sense of moral principles, and many of his clients became his personal friends.
Interested in helping to shape and enrich his community, Sal participated in many town committees, including Planning and Zoning, Inlands Wetlands & Watercourses, and most recently was the Hearing Officer for the Town of Cromwell. He was always willing to offer his hometown his unique brand of small-town pragmatism and most importantly, his time.
When not working, Sal and Sally traveled extensively both overseas and in their RV. Sal loved camping, especially with his children and grandchildren and always enjoyed conversation around the campfire. He loved doing home projects whether it was around his house or one of his children's. He was a man of faith who was a lifelong member of St. John Church in Cromwell. He was always willing to lend a hand, always dependable and hardworking, and always putting others above himself. From the care he gave his widowed mother to the care he gave his aunt and her son, he set a wonderful example for his entire family.
Sal was a man of complex interests but of very simple pleasures. One of his greatest joys was simply walking out to his orchard and picking an apple off one of his trees and eating it. He always lived life to the fullest and seemed younger than his actual age. His appreciation for the little things in life, immense love of family, abundant guidance, humorous one-liners, and gifts of time will forever be remembered by all who knew him.
Family and friends may call on Wednesday, October 25 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Cromwell Funeral Home, 506 Main Street, Cromwell. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, October 26 at 10:30 a.m. at Saint John Church, 5 St. John Court, Cromwell. Interment will follow in the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown where full military honors will be accorded. Please omit flowers but consider making a donation in Sal's memory to the Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org), Tunnel to Towers Foundation (t2t.org), or consider becoming an organ and tissue donor. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.
the Middletown Press - Oct. 23, 2023