Always Smiled
Off the Wall, Oct
17, 2013

Upon departure, there was always heard the same line directed toward me, “God loves you and so do I.” That was the phrasing I always came to expect from my good friend and fellow Holy Name Society member of Holy Family Parish, Ron Gigliotti. Sadly, he passed away Sept. 6, 2013.

No matter who one talked to, they always said the same thing, “Whenever I saw Ron, he had a big smile on his face.” And in my heart, I think there were reasons for that. He knew he was loved by God whereby His Spirit shined through him. He spoke highly of his wife, Lisa, married 31 years, and their four children, now young adults.

In his 56 years of life, Ron did more than many of us would have done, living longer on this earth. He was very active as a parish member. Not only was he a Society member locally, but also served as state secretary for the organization.

Also, he was a Eucharistic minister at Mass and made home communion calls for the sick and shut-ins for the parish. Ron taught the children’s liturgy of the Word at Masses and Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes for more than 20 years.

Yearly, he was right on top of things when it came to organizing and ordering fish for the Annual Good Friday Fish Dinner. Ron would always come prepared to meetings, telling officers and members in detail what fish and other seafood was ordered in the past and suggested according to comparisons and statistics what should be purchased for the future. He was so well organized that that members came to depend upon him for his expertise.

Each year he would see to it that his children would help orchestrate the event. With the help of a group of parishioners, HNS members and non-members, all went well, thanks to our leader.

When not preoccupied by Church responsibilities, Ron owned and operated Integrated Health Systems, Inc., a position he held for more than 25 years, and was employed with MSAA Partners of Pennsylvania. He also designed and hosted web pages including mine, Gigliotti was a volunteer with the SCORE program at St. Vincent College.

A veteran of the Vietnam era, he served as a dog handler with the Air Force and was a member of Thomas B. Anderson, American Legion Post NO. 515, Latrobe.

Beaming with that smile that became that beacon of God’s light, those whom he encountered never quite knew what to expect upon meeting Ron, for he had quite a sense of humor as well.

Holy Family Church parishioner Stan Akins recalled a comment made stating, “I don’t know what we’d do without you gray heads!” According to him, this was Gigliotti’s way of thanking older men for assisting in church functions.

Debbie Vanden Berk said of Ron, “He loved to talk about his religious ed. kids. He made sure they got to eat for free and would give us free tickets to the fish fries to give to friends who were new to the area. The kids loved working with him because he would always say how helpful there were – ‘There’s those Vanden Berk kids – what would we do without them?’ Something like that would make them feel like being even better helpers.”

Longtime HFC parishioner Ray Honeychuck stated, “When he always saw me, he would say, “Ray, you’re a good guy. That would make me feel good.”

Ligonier’s Holy Trinity Parish member and past HFC parishioner, Dr. Tom Tomosky stated, “Ron was always generous, always giving of his time. He seemed to really, really care about people as individuals, not just in a generic sense. He was a fine man.

Friends of the family, in efforts to help the Gigliotti family pay their debts, are reaching out to the Greater Latrobe Area and surrounding communities by hosting a Spaghetti Dinner Benefit, Oct. 19, 2013, in the social hall of Holy Family Church, 1200 Ligonier St., Latrobe, from 4 to 7 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children. In addition to the spaghetti, each dinner includes a meatball, salad, bread, dessert and beverage. Take-outs are available.

In addition, a Chinese or basket auction will take place. Donations are welcome and may be dropped off at the Church rectory’s office as soon as possible.

For additional information, one may call Rick Roble, at 724-537-7304.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.