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Weekly Bulletin March 27, 2022
by Terrie Evans
The Bellissimo Family has connections to the Lettieri, Gramaglia, Di Stasi, Rinaldo and other San Antonio and South Fairmount families. In Roccadaspiede, Salerno Italy, Giuseppe Bellissimo (1840-1923) married Maria Filomina Lettieri (1845-1927) and welcomed Angelo Bellissimo Sr. (1890-1971) who arrived in America at the age of 16 in 1906. He went on to work as a ships mate going between New York and Italy until settling in Cincinnati by the age of 19. During those years, Frank Lettieri was arriving in New York and would later make his journey on to Cincinnati after becoming a Naturalized Citizen in 1928. Agnes Rinaldo was born in New York on December 28, 1895, while their ship was docked in New York Harbor. The Rinaldo family would make their way to Cincinnati and settle in Madisonville. Angelo (1890-1971) and Agnes (1895-1953) would later meet each other when they were both working as Domestics in a Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.
Their wedding would take place at Sacred Heart Italian Church in 1913 in a ceremony performed by Rev. John Balangero. Angelo was 23 and a Fireman living at 2218 Symmes Street while bride, Agnes Rinaldo was 17 and working in a shoe factory while residing at 1114 Broadway Street. By 1920, Angelo and Agnes were living at 2323 May Street while he held a job as a Contactor with their growing family, sons: Anthony 5 years old, Joseph 4 years old, and Daughter Violet Bellissimo, 2 years old. Also residing with them was Agnes’ sister, Josephine Rinaldo (1897-1956) employed as a seamstress in a tailor shop. On the holiday weekend of July 5, 1922, the family suffered a tragedy when daughter Violet Bellissimo died one month after her 5th birthday on June 2nd.
In the 1930 Census the Bellissimo family had bought their first home located at 1885 Montrose Street after Angelo became a Naturalized Citizen. Living nearby was a relative, Frank Lettieri at 1695 Montrose Street. In 1930, Angelo was 40, Agnes 34, Anthony 15, Joseph 14, Franklin 9, and Philomena 7. By 1940 Angelo was promoted to a Foreman when he was 49, Agnes 45, Anthony 25, Joseph 24, Franklin (frank) 20, Angelo Jr. 19, Philomena 16, and at that time, Agnes’ niece, Victoria Rinaldo was residing with them. Victoria was working in a bakery before her marriage in 1945 to Anthony J. Metzner( 1911-1993 ) a widower with a minor child after the death of his wife Lorraine Catherine (Horn) Metzner (1915-1936). To support his child and new wife, Anthony worked at the HH Meyer Packing Company on Central and Linn Streets. There were other Rinaldo neighbors, Joseph Rinaldo (1901-1973) at 1933 Queen City Avenue whose Funeral Mass was held at San Antonio and son Frank (1927-1997) a sheet metal worker at 2161 Queen City Avenue.
During those early years of our church, Angelo Bellissimo Sr. was a proud member of the Contadina Society and on the weekend of June 11 &12 in 1938, he was on the Committee for the San Antonio Italian Church 17th Annual Summer Festival along with Joseph Fernbacher, Vito Prinzo, and Daniel Acito. Their Festival Committee planned a Band Concert, a Circus Clown Revue, and a Fireworks Display. All South Fairmount and those families from the suburbs were in attendance as they looked forward to this festival every year. At that time, Agnes Rinaldo Bellissimo was a member of the Ladies Altar and Rosary Society scheduling the women from the neighborhood for cleaning and maintaining the church, taking care of the linens, and representing San Antonio Church as ambassadors for all Funerals and special church events.
The Bellissimo family Children and Grandchildren: Anthony (1915-1985) who enlisted at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana and served in the Army during World War II. Anthony Joseph worked at the H & S Pogue company at 4th and Race Streets. He would later relocate to Florida and is buried there. Joseph (1916- 1968) who resided on Queen City Avenue worked for the Cincinnati gas & Electric Co. at Front Street. Frank Joseph (1919-1996) wed a girl from Weirton, West Virginia, Genevieve A. Paolisso (1921-2018) after serving our country in the Army as a Sgt during World War II. Frank and Genevieve were married on May 31, 1951. They welcomed daughter Agnes Marie named after her grandmother who married into another San Antonio Parrish family, the Di Stasi’s when she wed Mark Di Stasi.
Angelo “Bliss” Bellissimo Jr. (1930-1991) wed Louise Gramaglia (1932-2020) on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1951 at San Antonio Church before he left to serve in Korea. While he was in the service, Louise worked as a telephone operator awaiting his return. Bliss enrolled in college to become an electrical technician and for many years worked at CVG as an Air Traffic Controller until his retirement. They had two sons Jay and the late John Bellissimo. Philomena “Phyliss” Bellisemo (1923-2016) wed Elmer Jones (1917-2001) children Janice, Joyce, Joanne, Jeana, Jerrilyn.