Obituary: Americo ‘Rico’ DiPietro

Americo ‘Rico’ DiPietro. (Courtesy)

Americo ‘Rico’ DiPietro. (Courtesy)

Americo “Rico” DiPietro reached the end of his long, remarkable life on July 12, 2022. He was 95 years old, although he insisted he was in his 96th year. He was born and raised in Endicott, New York to Americo and Mary DiPietro. At the age of 17 he talked his parents into signing a waiver so he could join the United States Navy. At the end of the War he was discharged in San Francisco in 1946. At that time, the Navy offered its veterans the option of a train ticket home or 50 cents per mile. Rico chose the 50 cents and started hitchhiking home. This proved to be the best decision of his life since, on his way back to New York, his ride left him off in Cleveland, Ohio. There he stayed with some relatives who invited him to a party where he met and married the Love of his Life. Rico and Jennie were married for 63 years until her passing in 2010. Soon after his marriage, Rico entered Triple Cities College in Endicott where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry working Summers as a cab driver. From there, he was accepted into the Graduate School at Cornell University. He graduated in 1956 with a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry. Rico was sought after by several companies and eventually joined General Electric where he was tasked with developing a brand new technology: the integrated circuit. He left GE to join the first group in IBM to implement semi-conductor technology in main frame computing, helping to guide the company through the IBM360 and IBM370 main frame era. He retired from IBM in 1986 as Director of Technology.

Despite a very challenging and time-consuming career, Rico was a great Family man, using his 2 weeks of vacation each year to take his family camping East to West and North to South across the country; tramping through muddy snow to find the perfect Christmas tree or wandering about Autumn fields of pumpkins in search of the Great Pumpkin. On occasion, he would take the Family along on one of his business trips to Europe where his sons would have the best of times making small paper airplanes and throwing them from the top of the Eiffel Tower. His favorite Holidays were Thanksgiving and Christmas when great family friends would gather at the house to make a huge batch of polenta.

In the course of his Graduate work at Cornell, Rico met the second Great Love of his life: opera. He discovered he had a very good operatic voice and he performed at several opera houses around the country. He knew every opera by heart and would sing at any opportunity in any venue. He did several National Anthems at Minor League Baseball games while in his eighties. Rico was a popular attraction at his Assisted Living Community at Las Fuentes in Prescott, Arizona. His enduring disappointment was that he never became a professional opera singer. Rico passed peacefully in his room surrounded by Family members while conducting La Boheme playing on a cell phone. We hope that in his final moments, as Pavarotti was accepting the applause from the stage of the Met, Rico was seeing himself on that stage accepting those “Bravos!”

Americo is survived by his sons Thomas and Richard DiPietro, his daughters-in-law Diana and Joan DiPietro, his Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren. He will be missed by all. In lieu of flowers, Rico would have encouraged a donation in support of your local opera or theater company.

Information provided by the family.

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