Donald C. Olivieri, 86, of Simsbury and Old Saybrook, CT, passed away on Saturday, July 22, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He died peacefully in his favorite place - in the arms of his wife Betty (Elizabeth) Olivieri (nee Ahern) - to whom he was married for nearly 62 years.
Donald was born in his home on Firetown Rd. in Simsbury on July 12, 1931, and with his wife raised their family there. He attended St. Thomas Seminary and was a graduate of Simsbury High School, class of 1949. He also attended Hillyer College - now University of Hartford.
Donald, also known as Dad, Donato, Uncle ‘Donal’ and Nonno was, simply put, a great man. He never needed the accolades of public acknowledgements many seek for their definition of success. Rather, as a devout Catholic, he lived his faith on a daily basis - demonstrating what it meant to be selfless, humble, considerate, and kind - not only as a husband and father, but also as a member of the Knights of Columbus, a volunteer for Meals-On-Wheels, a Friendly Visitor for the Estuary Council for Seniors, and through his service to St. Mary Church in Simsbury.
He was a man of integrity, dedicated to his family, and always worked tirelessly for their greatest good. In 1974 he took a big risk and left Ensign Bickford after 20 years of employment and, with the support of his wife, opened The Olivieri Quickprint Center, operating in Elmwood and Granby. The entire family worked in the business. Whether it was operating the press or folding the church bulletin for a penny a piece, Donald made sure to pass along his strong work ethic to his children.
Donald, a veteran of the Korean War, deeply enjoyed his years sitting under the big tree in his yard in Cornfield Point, Old Saybrook. With a great passion for music, he sang with The Insurance City Barbershop Chorus and could always be found whistling around the house and the print shop.
He is pre-deceased by his parents, Bartolomeo and Katerina (Dal Bon) Olivieri; brother Stephan; and sisters, Laura and Inez. In addition to his wife Betty, he leaves behind his 5 children - Stephen; Michael; Donna (Staples); Mary Katherine; and Mark; 3 daughters-in-law - Carolyn (Cross); Kristin (Landon); and Jonni (Marshall); 10 grandchildren - Allison; Kelle; Emily; Christopher; Sarah; Gage (Mullins); Olivia and Natalie (Staples); Jack and Grace; and 1 great granddaughter, Harper Rose (Burns). He is also survived by his beloved brother-in-law, William Ahern, and several nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly.
Donald also leaves behind his great sense of humor. He could skewer anyone with his lightning-fast wit and speak volumes with a single, knowing look. And his sage advice was valued by many. To quote: “The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.”
Finally, Donald requested that his obituary be short and simple, as follows: “Donald is dead. Scooter for sale.” Obviously, we had the final say.
There will be no calling hours. Funeral mass will be held this Friday, July 28, at 10:00am at St. Mary Church, 942 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury. Burial will be at St. Bernard Cemetery in Tariffville. In lieu of flowers, donations to H.O.M.E. Co-op, Route 1, East Orland, ME, www.homecoop.net , or American Parkinson Disease Association Connecticut Chapter would be greatly appreciated.