Antique Vintage 15

Paul Iacovelli, Sr.

December 31, 1932 ~ July 21, 2022 (age 89)


Paul "Red" Iacovelli, Sr.. passed away unexpectedly Thursday, July 21, 2022. He was born in Ithaca, NY on December, 31, 1932. His father, Vincenzo Iacovelli, immigrated from Fondi, Italy in 1921. His mother, Ruth Teetor, was from Newfield, NY.

Paul attended Ithaca High School. In his freshman and sophomore years he was the Section 4 Champion in his wrestling weight class. Wrestling was one of Paul's loves, but his ambitious nature and desire for a better life inspired him to leave school early and go to work, which he did with passion for over 4 decades.

While attending Ithaca High, Paul met and began dating the love of his life, Virginia, whom he married and loved for almost 70 years. They raised a son, and two daughters and built a beautiful life together. His family, from his descendants to the most recent great grand child, was a source of great pride for Paul, and he loved every one of them deeply.

Work, in all its definitions, was the driving theme in Paul's adventure. He had a long, successful career as a supervisor and inspector at Morse Chain, where he sacrificed over 40 years of service. It was his solace, his joy, his escape, and his literal purpose in life. There wasn't any job he was above doing and there wasn't anything he wouldn't do to finish the job. Even in his last years when the old bones didn't let him move very well, the theme of work still pervaded his existence. In retirement, Paul's favorite thing to do was bring old, discarded objects back to life. Whether it was a battered old chair, or an old weedeater, he always had a project, and successfully resurrecting said item would give him supreme joy. Paul was proud of his work, too. He beamed when he could show a visitor his museum (house) full of rescued gems and creations. Paul Iacovelli was an true artist. The discarded were his canvases. His unequaled passion was the paint.

Paul was an openminded man who never stopped listening and learning. While many settle into one trajectory in life, Paul was always growing and improving himself, even in his final years. Generosity, forgiveness, caring, and emotion all blossomed in Paul the older he became. The last version of him was a man who accepted life, but wanted it to be better for everyone. He strived to overcome things like toxic masculinity, bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, and shame. He hated shame and he accepted people for who they are, regardless of politics or religion. To those who took the time to truly know him, he was the most loving and loyal man in the world.

Paul had too many varied interests to list, but this small group of examples should illustrate the true complexity of the man, who without a high school education, was amazingly intelligent and wise. He loved music, Patty Loveless and Faith Hill were recent favorites of his. He loved sports. The Yankees, yes, but his true passion was Syracuse Basketball and he never missed a game. He loved books, too. So much that he would wash old books he found in roadside piles page by page while he drank his coffee. He loved fixing clocks so much that over 100 of them inhabit the walls and rooms of his home,  almost every one touched by his gentle patient hand. He loved dolls, too, all kinds, which he quietly kept in a room in the basement with their hair combed, waiting for a young person to give them to if someone showed up to visit. He loved getting his "hair" cut, and taking long rides around the countryside. He loved animals, birds, flowers, paintings, sculptures, the TV show Lost, bank tellers, summer rain showers, babies, and spaghetti. But, above all else, Paul loved life. EVERY SINGLE breathe of it.

The light of Paul’s life for 46 years was also his grandson, Jeremiah. Jeremiah was as Paul said daily, “his best guy, the only guy that stayed by my side all these years”. Every time Paul spoke about him, his eyes lit up with pride and love. Watching those two men enjoy their unbreakable bond was the most beautiful thing one could ever witness. Anyone who knew Paul and Jeremiah knew that those two souls were bonded together eternally. Whether they were working on old chairs together, watching a Syracuse basketball game, or going on one of their infamous long rides, there was something magical about the exchange between them. They were grandfather and grandson, but they were the best of friends and the loyalty, love and honor they held for each other was unparalleled. 

Paul was predeceased by his wife, Virginia, his parents, Vincenzo and Ruth Iacovelli, his brothers Joseph, Albert, and James, and his sisters-in-law; Bessie Iacovelli, Anastasia Iacovelli, and Helen Iacovelli.

Paul is survived by his son Paul (Billie Jo) Iacovelli and his two daughters Kathy (Craig Goldstrom) Iacovelli, and Joan (George) Benjamin. He is also survived by his brothers; Lawrence (Trin) Iacovelli, Orlando Iacovelli, Ralph (Roxanne) Iacovelli and his sister Virginia Seacord. He is survived by his grandchildren; Jeremiah (Danielle Scott) Iacovelli, Shane (Lisa) Benjamin, Christopher (Carrie) Eastman, Beth Eastman, Jessica (John) Freund, April Iacovelli, and Jenna Benjamin, and his great-grandchildren; Kailee, Kaiden, Bryce, Gavin, Kaitlyn, Kyler, Logan, Jacob, Emma, Hunter, Lyla and Sage. In addition, Paul was also survived by many nieces, nephews, sisters and brother in-laws, and grandchildren by marriage, and predeceased by many sister in laws and brother in laws, as well as his mother in law and father in law Mae and Oliver Ross.

In keeping with Paul's wishes, an outdoor service will be held with burial to follow at South Hill Cemetery on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 10:00am.


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Graveside Service
July 27, 2022

10:00 AM
South Hill Cemetery
Coddington Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

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