Hugo Del Prete, of West Simsbury, beloved husband of the late Joanna Del Prete and father of Anna Grbic, passed away early Friday morning, October 15, 2021. He was born October 11, 1935 in Torre del Greco, a coastal town outside Naples, Italy, to parents Anna and Antonio Del Prete. Hugo emigrated to the United States in his early adulthood and truly embodied the American Dream.
Hugo was the eldest in his large family, growing up during WWII under Italy’s Fascist rule. He was elated by the American liberation, which he witnessed firsthand, as soldiers embarked up the Italian coast. Upon adulthood, Hugo left Italy as a merchant marine and came to the United States with the intent of starting a new life with great hopes for opportunity and embracing the freedoms the country had to offer. He would go on to settle in New York City, where he met his wife Joanna. Together, they had their only daughter, Anna.
A dedicated family man, Hugo achieved the American dream working multiple jobs to ensure security for his new family and had sponsored his brother, Marco, when he emigrated to the country. He was known for his incredible patience and inseparability from his wife, having taken care of her throughout a lifetime dealing with epilepsy-related health problems. He was a pillar in his community in Queens, NY, where his home was always open to friends and family at any time of day.
Despite most of his life living in the city, he had a profound connection with nature; often, he would visit his grandchildren to bring them on long walks where he would explain the natural world to them with exquisite wisdom. He was the type of person who had the tranquil demeanor to approach a wild animal and not spook them away, but have them seemingly take interest and comfort in his presence. Furthermore, he was known for his impressive green thumb where neighbors would visit his home just to admire his garden.
His family fondly recalls the Italian card games he had taught them and his passion for soccer. And though he hailed from a country of great soccer fame, he would always be rooting the hardest for the United States in every World Cup, even if they played against Italy. His appreciation for what the U.S. stands for was seemingly unmatched. He has left behind a profound mark on those who knew him with all his optimistic perspectives, even after enduring hardships. In short, he will be remembered as the great man that he truly was.
In addition to his only daughter, he is survived by his brothers Marco and Gennaro, his sister Faustina, his son-in-law Richard Grbic, his grandchild Richie and wife Olga, his grandchild Jason and wife Brittany, his grandchild Daniel and girlfriend Leigh Anne, and his four great-grandchildren, Grant, Brooks, Parker and Leighton.
His family is grateful to all caretakers who were able to enhance his quality of life.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at St. Catherine’s of Siena located at 265 Stratton Brook Rd, West Simsbury, CT. In lieu of flowers, his family asks for donations to the Alzheimer's Association of Connecticut.