Cornelius M. DiLauro (1921 -2011) Aviator, farmer, father of 12, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away Saturday December 24 after a short battle with lung cancer. He was surrounded by members of his family at home in Sarasota, Florida.
He grew up in upstate New York on a fruit farm, the son of Italian immigrants. In the Second World War, he flew a P-38 Lightning fighter plane in the North Africa and Italian campaigns. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf clusters, a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, and the Purple Heart.
He often told the story of how, after he was shot at the poker table in a tent when a German plane strafed his airfield, he was in the triage tent for almost 3 weeks with a .50 caliber machine gun bullet in his gut. There were initials found scratched on the bullet when finally it was removed – the initials of the surgeon..
After the war he worked at odd jobs and for awhile promoted Dixieland jazz concerts at the local grange. Eventually, he joined Capitol Airlines, which became part of United Airlines, as a pilot. In January 1949 he married Ellen Ferrin, who survives him. This writer, born in January 1950, was their first child.
Cornelius DiLauro carried on the family tradition of fruit farming by planting 60 acres of cherry, peach and apple trees with his sons and brothers, outside Albion, NY during the 1950s. Due to his job he moved to Clinton Township, New Jersey, in the 1960s, where he grew raspberries on 17 acres.
He will always be remembered for his wit, sense of humor, and toughness in the face of any and all adversity. He was affectionately known as Corny by friends and family. He is survived by, in addition to my mother, 9 children, several grandchildren, and a great-grand-daughter. R.I.P., Dad. Love you. See you on the other side.