Don Pinciotti was born in Carey, Ohio on October 25, 1922 and passed away on October 3rd, 2017, just weeks from his 95th birthday. “Pince” is remembered as a generous, hard-working, and influential force in the lives of his family and friends. He is survived by his wife Cheryl of twenty-two years and her son Marty Toukonen, as well as Don’s brothers Frankie and Gabriel (Lucy Ferrara) and sister Carmela (Frazier). He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Alma (Mantini), siblings Anthony, and Theresa (Calmes) and grandson Dominic Pinciotti.
Don graduated from Central Catholic high school (1940), and was an all-city standout in baseball and football. He was named first team All-City in football and was chosen to play in the Ohio All Star game as a starting fullback and was inducted into the Central Catholic Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. Don received a full scholarship to the University of Dayton where he earned six varsity letters in football (fullback and punter) and baseball (catcher). As a Dayton Flyer, Don was the fullback selected to the “All-50 Harry Baujan Team”, 1946 All Ohio Catholic All-American team and chosen as Most Valuable Athlete in 1947. He also was selected to play football at Soldiers field in two invitational college All-Star games.
Don’s education was interrupted by WWII in 1943. He served as a second Lieutenant and physical education instructor for officers at Fort Benning, Georgia. He then reported to Fort Ord, CA joining a troop ship in the Pacific, landing in Leyte, Philippines. With the 8th Army on the liberty ship Helena Modjeska, he escorted Japanese POW back to Japan. His next assignment was in Yokohama, Japan with the 8th army football team where he had the privilege of playing in the Meiji Jingu stadium Tokyo Bowl. He was the game captain and selected as MVP with over 4,000 American soldiers in attendance. He was promoted to first Lieutenant and continued as the 8th army athletic director after the end of the war managing and playing on a baseball team for the troops and helping to refurbish the Japanese baseball stadium (Lou Gehrig stadium) until his discharge.
He returned to UD and graduated in 1946 with academic honors, All-Catholic, and All-American distinctions. He was offered a contract with both the Detroit Lions and the Chicago White Sox organizations. Don chose to play baseball as a catcher for the Chicago White Sox, the Memphis Chicks for five seasons and won the Dixie Series in 1952, and the Waterloo White Hawks. He was an all-star in 1951 and 1952 with a batting average of .322 that season. Don was inducted into the Toledo’s City League Hall of Fame’s all-time greatest athletes in 2000. He is a member of the Minor League baseball Alumni Association.
Don married Rita Clarahan (Waterloo, Iowa) in 1948 and returned to Toledo with a growing family (eight in all!) to work at Willys Jeep in 1953. Don worked for the UAW as an International representative and was instrumental in bringing the “Kaiser model” of health care to all United Auto Workers in the Toledo area. Don believed athletics, the outdoors, play and creativity were important components to a well-lived life and worked to provide these experiences to thousands of children at the Local 12 Summer Camp at Sand Lake, Michigan. “Pince” was an entrepreneur who started businesses, worked for the City of Toledo Recreation department, and developed upscale motor home parks for Outdoor Resorts of America across the USA. He was an avid sports enthusiast, collector of sports memorabilia, and coach for many CYO baseball and football teams. A natural storyteller, Don was a curious learner and life-long Democrat. He loved debates about politics, sports, and history and his laugh could fill an entire room.
Don’s love of sports and his belief in a good education and hard work were passed on to his eight children and grandchildren. His pride and joy was his large Italian family and their individual athletic/academic accomplishments and professional paths. He is also survived by his children -- Pat Pinciotti (Howard Rappaport) of Chester, NJ, Rocky Pinciotti (Joan Glase) of Cochecton, NY, Veronica Pinciotti of Maumee, OH, Dennis Pinciotti (Anita Guagliardo) of Copley, OH, Rosemary Quaranta (Michael) of Cincinnati, OH, Philip Pinciotti (Kris Reed) of Westerville, OH, Dino Pinciotti (Lisanne Mosher) of Hillsborough, NJ and Frank Pinciotti of Lewis Center, OH. Don was often heard bragging about the interests, abilities, and successes of his twenty-one grandchildren and their families -- Zak, Nikki, Jesse, Gabe, Andrew, Christopher & Rachel, Michelle, Jaclyn, Dan & Lindsay, Kevin, Caitlin, Dean, Ben & Mandy, Andrea & Ryan, John Paul, Tori, Livy, Mimi, Mike, Julia, Lauren. He was enthusiastically involved in his grandchildren’s lives and overjoyed about the addition of seven great-grandchildren -- Bailey, Dean, Vincent, Luke, Sadie, Elliot, and Harley. He served as a remarkable role model for all of us. Borrowing from Lou Gehrig, Don “considered himself the proudest father on the face of the earth”.
The family will be receiving guests Friday, October 27, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Newcomer Funeral Home, 4752 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo (419 381 1900). There will be a Military salute at 6:45 pm followed by a scripture service.
A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, October 28, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church, 4201 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo (419 381 1540).
In lieu of flowers his family requests donations be made in Don’s name to the Toledo Diocese Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) - 1933 Spielbusch Ave., Toledo, Ohio 43604.