January 9, 2021
Pellegrino (Bill) Papa, age 84, passed away on January 9, 2021 at his home in Moneta, Virginia.
Bill was born in Pasquarielli, Italy on July 25, 1936, later moving with his parents, Clemente and Ida and siblings, Filomena, Anthony and Dora, to Naples, Italy. In 1952, just days before his 16th birthday, his father sent him to New York even though he did not speak fluent English, to determine if the whole family should relocate to the United States. After arriving in New York City, he was employed by the owner of a bakery who would later become his father in-law. He received a full college scholarship to City College of New York (CCNY) graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. While in college, he was also the starting left wing on the CCNY 1957 men’s national championship soccer team.
In 1959, Bill accepted a position at Corning Glass Works in western New York. While at Corning Glass, Bill earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration though a joint executive program between Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Schools of Business Management. During his illustrious career, Bill’s many contributions eventually resulted in him being named as an Executive Scientist and in 2019 receiving a 60 years of service pin from Corning Glass. Bill was also an emeritus member for over 60 years in both the American Chemical and American Ceramic Societies.
After his long career at Corning, Bill retired to Virginia to get back to his roots and live his life as a “gentleman farmer.” He achieved that dream with his beloved wife of 61 years, Alba. They both became Master Gardeners and were active in various horticultural organizations in Virginia. Together they created magnificent gardens for decades and wrote guidebooks for growing local herbs and other vegetation. Their meals abounded with food they had grown themselves. Bill had many other passions including, but not limited to, Giants football, Dodger baseball, wine, figs and a constant and epic battle with deer, moles, squirrels and rabbits that invaded his garden.
Bill is survived by his wife, Alba, his sons William (Lisa) and Christopher (Debi) Papa and daughter Laura Papa Misenheimer (Durant), his grandchildren Christopher (Kyla), Anthony, Nicholas, Joseph and Alexander Papa and Corey (Kathryn), Christy and Jenna Misenheimer, and his step grandchildren Brady and Tobias Allan.
In lieu of flowers please send memorial donations to The V foundation for Cancer Research: https://www.v.org/ways-to-give/honor-memorial-gifts/ .
Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Bedford, is assisting the family.