Ross Joseph Novelli Sr., a lifelong Galveston resident, passed from this life on the 19th of August, 2016 at the age of 97. Ross was born at home on November 3, 1918 to Giordano and Grace Torregrossa Novelli. He entered and passed earthly life at his home. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Loraine Novelli Panfilli Garland, and his nephew Archie Panfilli Jr.
Ross was raised bilingual in English and Italian. He had an aptitude for languages and added Spanish and French to his vocabulary. He graduated from Ball High School and then attended Texas A & M University where he graduated with the Class of 1940 and was a member of the Corps of Cadets.
He served his country in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946. As a lieutenant with the 915th Field Artillery Battalion he came ashore during the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day plus one. He was an honored veteran having received the Silver Star among other decorations. He was also named a Knight of the Legion of Honor by France in appreciation of his service during the liberation of France from Nazi Germany.
After retiring as a US Army Captain, he returned to Galveston and entered the family business – Galveston Feed and Egg. Ross then became a Life Insurance agent and was awarded membership in the Million Dollar Roundtable during his first year in business. He subsequently started his own real estate company specializing in residential sales and appraisals.
Ross was a member of The Rattlesnakes, a group of boys who grew up around 17th Street and Winnie, and enjoyed their annual reunions. Fishing and hunting with his friends and sons, along with Aggie football (win or lose) were his “hobbies”. He donated time to civic and volunteer activities. He was a past chair of the March of Dimes annual fundraising drive, in addition to actively supporting many political campaigns. He spearheaded the organization of the Galveston County A & M Club and in 1968 was instrumental in establishing the scholarship program for local students which is still in existence today.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Patricia, and his eight children: Deborah Novelli, Jordan Novelli and fiancée Elaine Puype, Karen Novelli and husband Walter Garvock, Ross Novelli and wife Jennifer, Bruce Novelli and wife Gail, Brent Novelli and wife Becky, Craig Novelli, and John Novelli. He is also survived by his thirteen grandchildren: Breton Novelli, Marisa Farrell, Meredith Padon and husband Cort, Allison Novelli, Isabella Novelli, Juliet Novelli, Matthew Novelli, Lauren Gerace and husband Robert, Adam Novelli and fiancée Courtney Evans, Sydney Novelli, Megan Novelli, Emily Novelli, and Elizabeth Novelli. Other survivors include his three great grandchildren; Kylie, Vivian, and Caroline Gerace; and his nieces Jackie Panfilli and Rhonda Panfilli.
Serving as pallbearers will be his six sons. Honorary pallbearers include: Dr. John McKenna, Henry Pomeroy, Eddie Janek, Trenton Torregrossa, Allan Torregrossa, VJ Tramonte, Mike Guarino, and members of the Wednesday West End Meeting Group.
Special thanks go to his caregivers, Tomasa Crear, Shirley Julian, and Demetra Williams, for their help, compassion, and support and the Hospice Care Team especially Robert and Kaylee.
The family will receive visitors at J Levy & Termini Funeral Home located at 2128 Broadway on Sunday, August 21, 2016 from 5 – 7 pm, with a Rosary recitation to follow. Ross was a lifelong member of St. Patrick’s Church, 1010 35th Street, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Fr. Orrin Halepeska and Deacon Robert Standridge on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 10:30 am with interment at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 2506 65th Street.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to Holy Family Parish in support of the St. Patrick’s Building Fund or to the Galveston County A & M Club Scholarship fund at PO Box 972, Galveston, TX 77553.