Vincent “Vinnie’ Felicella” loving husband and best friend to Joan, died peacefully at home, surrounded by family, on June 10, 2022. At 15:58, visibility was 10 miles, winds 13 mph NW: a perfect afternoon for flying.
Vincent was born July 1, 1933 in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn to Amelia (née Nappo) and Sebastiano Felicella, both from Naples, Italy. He was the third of five tight-knit siblings raised in Brooklyn and in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He remembered his early years fondly and remained close with childhood friends all his life. In 1951, he graduated from the High School of Industrial Arts in Manhattan and later enlisted in the US Air Force as a mechanic.
In the early 1960’s, he began a long and rewarding career as a commercial airline pilot, initially for TransCaribbean and later for American Airlines, where he remained until his retirement. He loved his work. He first met his wife, Joan (née Malishak), a flight attendant at the time, in Puerto Rico. After a courtship that traversed the globe, they married in 1966 and settled in Port Washington, New York. In 1974, they moved to Old Greenwich where they raised four children. They have been active parishioners at St. Clement of Rome Church and members of the Rocky Point Club for many years. After retirement, Vincent owned and maintained a small plane with a good friend at Bridgeport Airport. He was still flying well into his 80’s.
Vincent was a man of few words who expressed himself through gestures rather than proclamations. Stated simply, he was kind and accepting and on good terms with all. In addition to aviation, he was a skilled carpenter and mechanic. During stormy blackouts, he made the rounds with a small generator to keep neighbors' basements dry. And to the delight of his young children, he created the wooden “Pumpkin Patch” sign that today still makes an appearance in Old Greenwich each fall, almost 50 Octobers later. The various repairs and projects he undertook at school, church and throughout town are a quiet testament to his talents and generosity of spirit. Later in life, he took joy and pride in winding and adjusting the chimes at Tod’s Point. “Keeper of Time” was an apt role for a man of such enduringly patient manner and character.
Vincent is survived by a loving and ever-grateful family which includes his devoted wife Joan and their four children: Jill of Marblehead, MA; Vincent and Cindy (née LaPenna) of New Canaan; Carol Felicella Miller of New Canaan; Elizabeth and partner George Stolz of Manhattan. He will always be “Papa” to four beautiful grandchildren: Jaimie Miller and her partner, Risten Clarke, Annie Miller, Christopher Miller and Amelia Felicella. He shared a special closeness – and a lifetime of laughter – with his siblings, Consiglia, Roe, Donald, his late sister Chickie and all their spouses. On his side of the family, Vincent was “Uncle Vinnie” to thirteen adored and adoring nieces and nephews and to their children. His sense of family extended to cousins of several generations – he was loved by so many. Vincent will also be dearly remembered and missed by his sister-in-law, Janet Gold of Old Greenwich and his nephew Todd Gold and wife Tara, of Weston, CT; as well as by his sister-in-law, Nancy Abreu, and her children, Joseph and Michelle, of San Diego, CA.
The family would like to thank the individuals who made it possible for Joan to care for her husband at home over the last two years, particularly: Lia, Miguel, Teona, Nana, and Andrea; as well as the doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals working with Greenwich Hospital and Visiting Nurses of Fairfield; and finally the hospice team at Constellation that so compassionately guided his peaceful and dignified passing at home.
Funeral services and interment at St Mary’s cemetery were private. A mass will be said for Vincent later this summer at which time the family looks forward to welcoming friends; details to follow. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Greenwich Scholarship Association where a need-based scholarship will be established in his honor. Checks can be sent directly to the “Greenwich Scholarship Association” PO Box 4627, Greenwich Ct, 06831 with “Vincent Felicella” noted on the memo line.