Angelo Joseph Venturi was born on 18 August 1912, in LaSalle, Illinois. His parents were Emile and Pauline Bacidore Venturi. Emile and Pauline had married about four years before his birth on 11 April 1908. Both of Angelo’s parents were from Montegallo, Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy. His mother Pauline left her homeland in 1907 and traveled to America aboard the SS La Bretagne in October. His father Emile arrived in the United States about the same time.
After marrying, Emile and Pauline lived with her parents Louis and Rose Bacidore at 336 Berlin street—a road which would be renamed LaFayette street after World War 1. All three men in the household—Louis, Emile, and Pauline’s brother Vincent worked as coal miners. By 1910, Emile and Pauline had two daughters: Mary born in 1909 and Rose born in early 1910.
Emile and Rose eventually moved out of her parent’s home and into their own in Peru at 30 Syracuse street sometime prior to 1918. AT the time, Emile was no longer working in the coal mine. Instead he worked as a laborer for the Peru Plow and Wheel Company. And by 1920, their family had grown with the addition of three more children: Antoinette, Louis, and Dorothy. The next year, Lillian was born. And five years later they added another son Robert. In 1924 they had their last son, Giuseppe Venturi. However, Giuseppe became ill soon after his birth and died on 10 December 1924.
Within a few years of their little boy’s death, Emile and Pauline moved out of Peru to 10 Eighth street in LaSalle. By 1930 Emile was back working as a coal miner; his son Angelo was 18 years old and a driller at the Plow Company. All of the Venturi children including Angelo were possibly able to understand and speak Italian because both of their parents were still speaking it in the home in 1930.
The 1930s were challenging for many families in the United States with the worst impacts of the Great Depression in Illinois felt before 1932. From that year moving forward improvements in many areas slowly took place as the nation implemented several programs such as Social Security and the other New Deal initiatives. In 1940, Angelo was taking advantage of one of these programs by working as a laborer for the Works Progress Administration or WPA. Later that year he took a job at the Economy Body & Fender Shop at 14 Third street in LaSalle. When he registered for the draft on 16 October 1940, he was 29 years old, stood 5 feet 6 inches tall, and weighed 140 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
It would be two more years though before Angelo was called into service. He enlisted on 27 March 1942, at Camp Grant in Illinois. At the time he may have been involved in a relationship with Mabel Della McEwen Haughey, a 33-year-old widow with two children—Robert and Beverly. Mabel was previously married to Robert Haughey who died in 1932 from tuberculosis in Pennsylvania. By 1938 Mabel was living in Spring Valley, Illinois, with her children and teaching play school through the WPA program. Angelo and Mabel married in Flint, Michigan, on 8 December 1942, at the Christ Episcopal Church. Angelo was 30, and Mabel was 33.
While Angelo was serving, Mabel’s son Robert decided to enlist soon after he turned 17. He entered the U.S. Navy on 21 February 1944. A little over a month later, Mabel gave birth to a daughter, Judy. In June of that year when Angelo’s baby girl was only a couple months old, the Allies stormed the beaches of France. As a member of the 33rd Armored Regiment in the 3rd Armored Division, PVT Angelo Venturi was possibly among the troops arriving in France. After moving off the beach his regiment began to make its way south towards St. Lo. On the 16 July 1944—a warm and sunny day—while the regiment continued to fight its way south, PVT Angelo Venturi was killed; he was 31 years old. His body was never recovered, and his name was listed on the Tablets of the Missing in Brittany American Cemetery in St. James Manche, France.
Two other men from Angelo’s hometown who were also members of the same regiment were later killed in action: PVT William Cosgrove in 1944 and PFC Walter Gielow in 1945. For his service, PVT Angelo Venturi was awarded the Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, WW2 Victory Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the Army Good conduct Medal.
After Angelo’s death, his wife Mabel continued to live and raise her children in the Otter Lake, Michigan, area near her family. Her son Robert was discharged after the war on 9 May 1946, and returned home. Mabel never remarried and passed away at age 79 in 1988.
Angelo’s brother Robert G. Venturi also served during World War II. He enlisted in the Navy most likely after Angelo’s death and is noted as being received on board the USS Sylvania on 19 May 1945. He was discharged in 1946.
This story is part of the Stories Behind the Stars project (see www.storiesbehindthestars.org). This is a national effort of volunteers to write the stories of all 421,000+ of the US WWII fallen saved on Together We Served and Fold3. Can you help write these stories? These stories will be accessible via smartphone app at any war memorial or cemetery.
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SBTS Historian: Pam Broviak
You can also access this story at the following sites:
1910 U.S. Census, Louis Bagitora, FamilySearch.
1920 U.S. Census, Emil Ventori, Ancestry.
1930 U.S. Census, Emil Venturi, Ancestry.
1940 U.S. Census, Emile Venturi, Ancestry.
1940 U.S. Census, Mabel Haughey, Ancestry.
“New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” Petronilla Bacidori, SS La Bretagne, 21 October 1907, Line 14, Ancestry.
“U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” Emile Ventura, Ancestry.
“U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” Emilio Ventura, Ancestry.
“U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” Angelo Joseph Ventura, Ancestry.
“U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” Robert James Haughey, Ancestry.
“Death Takes Mother of Local Woman,” The Times, 1 September 1967, p. 16, Newspapers.com.
“U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014,” Mary L. Marini, Ancestry.
“U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995,” LaSalle, 1928, Emil Venturi, p. 294, Ancestry.
“Hard Times in Illinois, 1930–1940,” Illinois Secretary of State.
“U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946,” Angelo J. M. Venturi, Ancestry.
Untitled, Bureau County Democrat, 13 March 1942, p. 8, NewspaperArchive.
“Enroll in WPA Recreation Course,” The DePue Leader, 10 May 1940, NewspaperArchive.
“Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968,” Robert Houghey, 1932, State of Pennsylvania, Franklin county, Ancestry.
“Michigan, U.S., Marriage Records, 1867-1952,” Angelo Venturi to Mable Della McEwen, 1942, Ancestry.
“U.S., Headstone and Interment Records for U.S., Military Cemeteries on Foreign Soil, 1942-1949,” Angelo J. Venturi, Ancestry.
“U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010,” Robert James Haughey, Ancestry.
“Otter Lake-Saginaw Otisville, Robert James Haughey,” The Flint Journal, 17 August 1990, p. 68, GenealogyBank.
“Otter Lake-Otisville, Mable D. Venturi,” The Flint Journal, 3 February 1988, p. 32, GenealogyBank.
“Log Book of Second Battalion,” 33rd Armored Regiment 1944–1945, Third Armored Division Association Records, University of Illinois Library.
“Spearhead in the West, 1941–1945, The Third Armored Division,” Fold3.
“U.S., World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949,” Robert G. Venturi, USS Sylvania, 19 May 1945, Ancestry.
“U.S., World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949,” Robert G. Venturi, USS PC-569, 30 June 1946, Ancestry.