ONEONTA – Eugene Lissandrello, 95, an artist whose work was shown at CANO, peacefully died of old age on Sept. 30, 2019, at Fox Nursing Home.
Eugene was born to Italian immigrant parents, Giorgio and Marietta Lissandrello, of Ragusa, Sicily, in Brooklyn, in 1924.
Artist, teacher, and World War II veteran, Gene’s first opportunity to discover his love for art was through free classes offered by the WPA near his home in Bensonhurst. Though accepted at the Cooper Union School of Art, with free admission, he was drafted into the US Army at 19 years of age. His ordnance unit supported the Normandy invasion in 1944. Following the war, he graduated from the Pratt Institute of Art on the G.I. Bill in ’49. He met his true love, Mary Colleen Moore, of Villisca, Iowa, in their painting class while pursuing his MFA at Columbia University, in 1951. Their love would abide for 69 years to this day.
They lived their most fruitful years in Sayville, Long Island, with children Stephen, Emily, Christopher, and Alyssa. While teaching art, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to Italy in 1970. Gene became the Director of Art for the Connetquot School District until his retirement in 1983.
Eugene and Mary spent the past 25 years upstate in Oneonta to be closer to Emily, Chris, and the grandkids. A retrospective of Eugene’s paintings, assemblages, and relief sculptures was exhibited at the UCCA gallery, now CANO, in Oneonta in 2009.
His twilight years were spent near his wife, under the affectionate care of Fox Nursing Home, where he seemed to be loved and appreciated by all who entered his eclectic room, with salon like walls, covered with original art and hand-crafted puns. He enjoyed literature, jazz, crossword puzzles, Scrabble with Mary, Dewar’s Scotch, and poker until his last week. His bed stand was collaged with the captions, “TIME, TIME, TIME, TIME”, until his last installment, “ENOUGH”.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary C. Moore Lissandrello, also at Fox, and their children, as well as 11 grandchildren, Helen, Hannah, Vera, Rachel, Colin, Peter, Daniel, Dylan, Taylor, Nora, and Samuel and four great-grandchildren, Alex, Gabriel, Clara, and Joshua, with one on the way.
He is preceded in death by his brothers and sister, Fred, Paul, Rosalie, and John.
Eugene’s oft spoken motto was “La famiglia e tutto”. The family is everything. His legacy and imprint will not fade.
A private bedside service and family dinner will follow.
Arrangements are with Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St., Oneonta; www.lhpfuneralhome.com