John Joseph Gentile, 92, passed away April 13, 2020 from COVID-19. Born in Springfield in 1928, he was the son of the late Frank and Virginia (Rotolo) Gentile. As a first-generation Italian American, he served his country in the U.S. Army Special Forces during WWII. He returned home and joined his father in the family owned construction business, Gentile Construction Co. He was a master bricklayer and builder and after taking over the business from his father, he taught his own sons to follow in his footsteps.
He had an entrepreneurial spirit, knowing how to foresee an opportunity and capitalize on it. He used that skill to pursue a variety of business opportunities. He owned and operated Meadows East Health Club, The Agawam Country Club, The Holyoke Bombers Semi-Professional Football Team, The Barn and numerous real estate holdings in East Longmeadow.
John was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus, East Longmeadow, where he spent many hours serving the community alongside family and friends. He was happiest when he was at home enjoying a glass of wine with his family and cooking up a storm. His favorite recipe was his Lobster Fra Diavolo which everyone looked forward to on Christmas day. He started and cooked for the Aglio E Olio Club, a group of family and friends, for over 15 years. He passed on his father’s family motto to all his children, “If you have food on your table, wine to drink with it, and family & friends around your table to share it with, then you are rich.”
John was a lover of the sun, the beach and the ocean. In his final years, you could always find him with his chair pulled up to the bay window of his house, which he built by hand, with the sun shining upon his face. John was an avid reader who loved to visit his local library almost daily.He loved all kinds of sports, sponsored many local teams and attended his sons’ hockey, baseball and soccer games. John loved to dance, and when he did, everyone stopped to watch. Give him music, dance, food and wine to enjoy with his family and friends, and you would find the happiest man alive. He especially reveled in the company of his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Shirley (Trombley), his sister Delores Rescia, children, Frank, Christine (Jim), John (Mary), Thomas (Laura), Tina (Steven), and Robert (Julie). He leaves 9 beloved grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sister Eleanor in 1952.
He will be laid to rest, privately, in the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery with a memorial to be held in the future for family & friends.
Please consider a donation to www.BostonChildrens.org/givenow, in John’s memory.
Visit www.TazziniFuneralHome.com for condolences and updates.