O’Rourke & O’Rourke
Inc. Funeral Home

25 River Street
Salamanca, NY 14779
phone: (716) 945-4760
fax: (716) 945-4222

Robert Mongillo

Robert Joseph Mongillo, 95, passed away peacefully on January 24, 2018.

Born April 5, 1922 in Salamanca, New York, Robert was the only son of John and Rose Micale Mongillo. He lived most of his life in the family home at 20 Summit Street.

Raised in Salamanca, he attended school to the eighth grade, when he began to help in the family grocery business.

In the early 1940s, Robert participated in the Civilian Conservation Corp as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal and worked on projects in and around New York State, including Allegany State Park. He liked to tell how his parents received $8 per month for his work in the park.

A decorated WWII veteran, Robert was drafted into the Army on December 15, 1942. Following 6 months of basic training at Fort Bragg, NC, he was assigned to Medical Corp #0326 of the 101st Airborne Division and immediately transported to the UK. In the early morning hours of June 6th, 1944, D-Day, Robert flew in a glider as part of the advanced support mission before the invasion of Normandy. From there, he went by truck to Belgium, where he carried dead and wounded soldiers off the battlefield during the Battle of the Bulge. It was in Belgium on December 19, 1944 that he and others in his platoon were captured by the German Army and taken to Stalag 4-B in Muhlberg, Germany, where he spent the rest of the war. On June 4, 1945, when the Russian Army moved east in the final days of the war, they liberated all the prisoners in Muhlberg. Alone and without orders, food, or weapons, they ran on foot until they rejoined American forces. For his service to his country, he was awarded the European Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars, signifying the four different theatres in which he fought, the American Campaign Medal, the Bronze Star, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Prisoner of War Medal.

After the war, Robert worked as the 3rd trick night watchman at the former Fancher Furniture Company, until his retirement in 1984.

Robert liked to play cards and enjoyed weekly games with his friends at the Holy Cross Club and the American Legion. He liked to walk, and often drove to the State Park to walk around Red House Lake. He also bowled in several Salamanca Bowling Leagues. During the years they were together, he and his companion Betty would take road trips to various places along the East Coast. He also enjoyed going to the Casino in his later years. Robert was a kind and gentle man with a unique sense of humor. He was a modest hero who never spoke about his service to his country or expected any special attention for his years as a soldier. In 2016, at 94, when he toured the World War II Museum in Eldred, PA with a couple of 8th graders working on a school project, he was flooded with memories of the war and openly shared many of his experiences with the staff of the museum and those who toured with him; an experience none of them will forget. After, he sat for a taped interview shared with several students in Salamanca.

Robert was a lifelong member of the Holy Cross Athletic Club, American Legion Hughes-Skiba Post 535, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars John F. Ahrens Post 5296.

Robert is survived by his advocate, caregiver, and best friend, Pam Yaworsky and her family of Kill Buck, and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents, John and Rose, a sister, Marguerite Rockwell, and the love of his life and companion, Betty.

There will be no visitation.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in Our Lady of Peace Parish on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 11 a.m. with Rev. Patrick Melfi, pastor of St. John's Church, Olean, NY, as celebrant, assisted by Deacon Michael Anderson.

Full military honors will be conducted by members of the American Legion Hughes-Skiba Post 535 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars John F. Ahrens Post 5296.

Funeral arrangementrs are under the direction of the O’Rourke & O’Rourke Inc Funeral Home, 25 River Street, Salamanca, NY.

Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

E-condolences can be sent to john@orourke-orourke.com or posted to facebook.com/onofh.