Bill Vitalie, 93, passed away Sunday, August 21, 2022, in Indiana, PA. He was the beloved husband of Betty D. Vitalie, deceased, whom he married May 23, 1953.
Born February 12, 1929, in South Fork, PA., son of the late James and Rosalie (Pugliese) Vitalie (both immigrants from Malvagna, Sicily). The youngest of ten children; he was preceded in death by siblings, Joseph, Brigantine, NJ., Rose, Johnstown PA., Carl, Brigantine, NJ., Samuel, Johnstown, PA., Tony, Johnstown PA., Claire, Philadelphia, PA., and Frank, Carlsbad CA.
Bill graduated from South Fork High School in the class of 1946. He was a star athlete, excelling in basketball, establishing state-wide scoring records and playing on many all-star teams. He began his college career on a full basketball scholarship at St. Francis College while studying chemistry. Bill joined the Army in 1949 as tensions escalated in Korea. He earned the distinction of Marksman and had the good fortune of continuing his athletic career. He was selected for the United States Armed Forces All Star basketball team and won MVP of the United States Armed Forces Championship, playing with teammate and Heisman Trophy winner, Glenn Davis. He also fought his way to winning the United Sates Armed Forces Middleweight Boxing Championship. After returning stateside, he enrolled at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and as a freshman earned a letter in football as a running back. He was selected to play professional basketball for the Johnstown Clippers and continued a long career playing for the Indiana Legion and AC teams, winning several state championships and in 1956 won MVP of the state tournament. He went on to play basketball for many years earning a myriad of noteworthy awards, along with a successful career playing semiprofessional football. To culminate his tremendous athletic career, he was honored to be inducted into the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Bill was well known and active in the Indiana community. He continued his love of sports as a judge for regional boxing events, and coaching his sons on their basketball, football and baseball teams. He was a member of many organizations including the VFW, American Legion, Elks, and Knights of Columbus. He enjoyed competing in a local golf league through the 2021 season.
Having become a member of St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church in 1953, he was successful in having all five children actively participate and graduate from the school.
Bill enjoyed a 37-year career with Robertshaw Controls Co. as the Manager of the plating department and water treatment facility; and for many years thereafter, worked for the Indiana Gazette.
Wherever Bill went a friend was near, his kind and thoughtful demeanor touched many. He was a man of faith and character, a loving husband and father whose family’s needs were always paramount to his own.
Bill is survived by his children: Dr. William A. Vitalie (Graciana), of Indiana, PA; Tamra Lee Piccolo (John), of Sewickley PA.; James S. Vitalie (Lauren), of Englewood, CO; Daniel A. Vitalie, of Pittsburgh PA.; and John R. Vitalie (Erik), of San Francisco, CA., as well as, 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren also survive him. He is survived by a large extended family including his brother James, Annadale VA. and his sister Mary, Richland, PA. as well as many nieces and nephews.
Friends and extended family will be received Sunday, August 28th from 3-7 pm at Rairigh-Bence Funeral Home & Crematory of 965 Philadelphia St. Indiana PA. 15701. A Catholic Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, August 29th, 2022 at 10 AM at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church with Father Andrew Corriente, celebrant. Following the Mass there will be a private interment in the St. Bernard’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to FRAXA at https://www.fraxa.org/donate/ or FRAXA Research Foundation, 10 Prince Place, Suite 203, Newburyport, MA 01950 or the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation (https://www.christopherreeve.org/donate) as Memorial donations.
Online condolences may be offered by visiting: rbfh.net