NELLO A. DA RODDA, LTJG, USN
Nello Da Rodda '48
Date of birth: September 9, 1923
Date of death: November 3, 1952
From the 1948 Lucky Bag:
Nello was lost when the plane he was piloting crashed in Virginia on November 3, 1952. Unable to determine type of aircraft or squadron.
A news report cited a brother, but gave no name. Believe it might be Aldo Jacinto Da Rodda, himself a Naval Officer. Doesn't seem that Aldo graduated USNA, though he appeared in the 1964 Lucky Bag as a LCDR instructor in the foreign languages department.
From researcher Kathy Franz:
Nello attended Philip Ginter Junior High School and Summit Hill High School. As a junior, he was a cheerleader and a journalist on the school magazine “The Hilltopper.” He was awarded first prize in the poppy poster contest for the American Legion of Allentown. As a senior in 1941, he was the narrator for the Dramatic Club’s presentation of “A Broadcast to End All Broadcasts.”
He received a scholarship through State Senator M. F. Crowe from the American Legion to attend any state aided college in Pennsylvania. One scholarship is awarded in Carbon and Monroe counties each year to the winner of an essay contest on Americanism. He also received a cash award for his outstanding scholastic ability from the Alumni Association of the Bliss Electrical School in Wilkes-Barre.
In 1943 he was an aviation ordnance man, third class, and lived in Washington, D.C.
Nello was piloting a single-engine navy plane attached to Carrier Air Group 4, Jacksonville. The plane went down four miles northwest of Louisa, Virginia. Two other navy airman were also killed. Their remains were buried 18 feet in the ground under wreckage and dirt in a deserted farmhouse yard. The three had taken off from Olmstead Air Force Base in Pennsylvania.
On November 10, Nello’s funeral procession led by the American Legionnaires left the Tamagnini house to St. Joseph’s Church for a requiem high mass. He was buried in the parish’s cemetery with full military rites.
Nello’s father died by 1930 in Pennsylvania. His mother Augusta, born in Italy, married Jacinto Lagos, a coal miner from Central America. His sister Nellie was born in Italy and was one year old when the family came to America in 1921. His brother Aldo was 3 years younger than him. He recently completed his training as a jet pilot. Nello’s wife was Mary Rose Cecelia Tamagnini whom he married in 1951.
Gordon Engel '48 also participated in the Masqueraders.