Julius "John" Averna passed away peacefully on October 2, 2019 at the age of 94. The proud son of Italian immigrants (Eugene and Maria), he was born above a macaroni factory in Brooklyn, New York. At 17, he joined the Navy as a Seabee and was dispatched to the Pacific. After his return from service, at age 22, he met & married his sweetheart, Dorothy Hoenigman. While working full time, he finished high school and then college, graduating from LI University. The marriage brought happiness for 72 years, during which time they raised 5 children (Leslie, Russell, Gene, Brian, & Andrew). After college, he faced discrimination, and his employment was thwarted by the prevailing sentiment "no Italians need apply". He joined Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company where he worked for 38 years, having earned his CLU, ending his career as a Regional Vice President and being named to the Manager’s Hall of Fame.
His interests included stage managing in community theatre, creating stained glass art, playing racquetball, tennis, and cribbage, bowling, and, in spite of hours of practice, obliviously playing the piano despite being tone-deaf. He was a member of the Osterville Men’s Club and the West Barnstable Deer Club. He believed in equal rights for women, enriching the previously all-male Rotary Club with women business leaders. He was a naturally talented cook, who specialized in the Sicilian meals prepared by his parents. Distasteful of jarred tomato sauce, his patience resulted in a sauce whose recipe the family treasures. After retirement, he was admitted to the UConn School of Law; in spite of working hard for two years, his dream to advocate for the needy could not be realized due to medical issues.
He loved his seven grandchildren (Dan, Nick, Emily, Matthew, Zachary, Julia, and Camille) and his children-in-law (Tom Badway, Barbara Kern, Patty Paradise and Susan Hodgkinson) He was gleeful in anticipating the birth of his first great grand children (John Parker and Brooklyn Payton Averna). He appreciated those who cared for him and his wife in the later stages of his life, and befriended staff and residents at Atria Woodbriar and JML Care Center in Falmouth, MA.
A good son, spouse, father, grandfather, friend and ethically driven business leader, he will be greatly missed. Based on his ever-modest wishes, a celebration of his life was held with his immediate family and he was buried in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne. Donations to the Seabee Museum and Memorial Park, 21 Lafrate Way, North Kingston, RI 02852 in his name would have made him happy.