Antonio Occhialini, 97, of Newington, passed away on Tuesday, February 14, 2017. He was the beloved husband of Mary (Reney) Occhialini for 66 years. Born in 1919, in Montemaggiore al Metauro, Italy, he was the son of the late Arnaldo and Rosa (Conti) Occhialini. Tony left school after the 4th grade to help support his family. He baked bread, made nails, threshed wheat & raised silk worms in his bedroom just to name a few of his odd jobs. As a teenager, his family moved to Mogadishu, Somalia. He served in the Italian army and was stationed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was captured by the British and moved to Kenya and Uganda where he spent 3 ½ years as a prisoner of war during which time he worked to build the famed road to Kilimanjaro. He was a champion bicycle and motorcycle racer in both Italy and Africa. Through the generosity of his aunt and uncle, the late Enrica and Attilio Marzi, Tony immigrated to America from East Africa in 1949. During the three month journey, Tony's skills as a mechanic were proven when he repaired the nickel freighter's engines after they broke down off the coast of Africa. Once here, he worked night and day repairing engines, building cars and learning the machining business. In 1957, he founded the Reno Machine Company, Inc., now located in Newington, with his brother-in-law the late Albert Reney. Albert retired in 1986 and Tony became partners with his sons, Mark and David. Tony felt great pride in his Italian heritage and his African experience, but one of Tony's proudest achievements was becoming a US citizen in 1954. He arrived in America with only the clothes on his back and with very little formal education, yet he succeeded in building a thriving business through his own hard work and determination. Tony was also a fabulous cook and has cooked thousands of pounds of homemade pasta for his family and for various charity fundraisers over the years. He was the embodiment of the American Dream. He showed his love for his country and his gratitude for his blessings by helping other immigrants. He sought out others like himself, those arriving here with nothing but an eagerness to work. He would help them find transportation and a place to live and he would give them the opportunity to learn a trade. He had a great respect for someone who was willing to work hard for what they wanted - particularly for someone who works with his hands. Tony committed himself to providing a helping hand to countless others so that they could achieve their dreams, too. Tony never officially retired. He continued to work every day and died after a full day at the shop - his favorite place to be. He was 97 in years only. In spirit, he was the same 30-year-old dreamer who first set foot on American soil. In addition to his wife, Tony leaves his children: Adorna Carroll and her husband Jack, Mark Occhialini and his wife Cinzia, Renée Malinowski and her husband Thomas, Sonya Casarotto and her husband Jeffrey, and David Occhialini and his wife Jeana, his niece Maria Teresa "Terri" Conti and her life partner Cynthia Eaton, and his nephew Alberto Conti and his wife Fatima. He also leaves his grandchildren: Jenna Carroll Abare and her husband Norm, Adam Malinowski and his wife Jennifer, Eric Malinowski, Jordan Carroll, Antonio Occhialini and his wife Ashley, Sean Carroll, Danielle Occhialini and her fiancé Gregory Diaz, Diva Malinowski Green and her husband Benjamin, Brianna Occhialini, Alex Casarotto, Athena Casarotto, Austin Occhialini, Michela Casarotto, Braden Occhialini, Cameron Casarotto and Daniel Casarotto. Let's not forget his 3 great-grandchildren: Natalie and Andrew Malinowski, and Jameson Diaz. Tony is also survived by his cousins Richard and Carole Marzi, his sister-in-law Maureen Reney, several nieces and nephews here and in Italy and many treasured friends. Tony was predeceased by his siblings, Teodo Occhialini, Renato Occhialini and his wife Iride, Adorna Conti and her husband Cesare, Maria Camerini and her husband Nino, his in-laws Anthony and Fermina Reney and his daughter-in-law, Pamela Cowles Occhialini. His funeral service will begin on Monday, February 20th, at 10:30 a.m. at the Newington Memorial Funeral Home, 20 Bonair Ave., Newington followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30 a.m. at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Newington. Burial will be private in St. Mary Cemetery, New Britain. Relatives and friends are invited to call on Sunday, February 19th, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Newington Memorial. Memorial donations may be made to The Newington Department of Human Services, Newington Town Hall, 131 Cedar Street, Newington, 06111. To share a memory with his family, please visit us at www.newingtonmemorial.com .
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