George Amitrano 74, passed away December 16, 2021, in a tragic car accident.
George Joseph Amitrano was born on October 30, 1947, to John and Narcisa (Bondoni) Amitrano on a ship enroute to the United States from Italy. For his first six years he lived in El Paso, TX with his family on an army base. In 1953 he traveled by train with his mother and baby sister to Ely, MN, to live with relatives while his father served in the Korean War. In 1958 he moved to Babbitt and has lived here ever since, with a few years away for college, Vietnam, and work. Growing up in Babbitt, George loved sports. He would talk about his love for baseball and hockey through his high school years and beyond. He played hockey outdoors here in Babbitt before the arena was built, and he had so many fond memories of his coach and his fellow players. He spoke often of these memories.
He graduated from John F. Kennedy in 1966 and in January 1968 started his Vietnam tour as a Screaming Eagle with the 101stAirborne Division; something he remained extremely proud of until his death. Returning from Vietnam he attended Bemidji State University and Vermilion Community College. He worked for Reserve Mining Company, did construction, Midwest Patrol and LTV Steel Mining. He also worked for the City of Ely after LTV shut down. Due to a serious heart condition, George retired in 2003.
On September 11, 1993, George married Patricia (Gibson) Swanson in Babbitt where they made their home. They have spent so many good times together and were rarely apart from each other. Marrying Patty, he entered into a large family who welcomed him and treated him like he had always been there.
They have so enjoyed spending time visiting Patty’s children and grandchildren; all of which George loved and treated as if they were his very own. He praised their talents, work ethic, and successes. He loved watching them grow up and was so very proud off all their accomplishments and the adults they became. To say he loved the grandchildren is an understatement. He was always the one they favored over Grandma Patty, though she kept trying. He loved playing catch with them, teaching them how to hold a bat or golf club, watching them play piano, compete in swimming meets, and play rummy or monopoly for hours, never tiring. He had a strong penchant for remembering their birthdays and looked forward to telephone or facetime calls.
Family was everything to George, but he also had an enormous widespread collection of friends he made and kept throughout his life. It was common for him to be on phone calls with many friends from his past; his childhood friends and his Vietnam buddies remained especially close to his heart.
George loved hockey, baseball, golf, kids, fresh bread, pasta, apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, Old Dutch potato chips, Corvettes, and life. He was a caring and dedicated son, a loving and devoted husband, and a responsible and proud father and grandpa to Patty’s children and grandchildren.
He will be sadly missed by wife Patty; stepchildren Jennifer Paxson, Jessica Swanson, Jack (Diana) Swanson, Ben (Stacia) Swanson, Courtney (Bill) Hardwick, and Autumn (Jacob) Hommerding; grandchildren Jacob, Michael, Tom (Alyssa), Camilo, Vanessa, Henry, Paige, Luke, Paul, Claire, Philip, Nicholas, and Kate; and his black lab, Allie. He is also survived by his nephew Michael Sjoquist and several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews on Patty’s side. He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant brother, sister, niece, and his mother-in-law and father-in-law.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St Pius X Catholic Church in Babbitt on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at 11 am, with visitation being held one hour prior to the service at the church and burial following at Waasa Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Babbitt Golf Course, in memory of George.
We love you, George. Rest in peace.
Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
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