Anthony DeGiglio, WWII medic, maritime exec and man of faith

[media-credit name="Anthony DeGiglio." align="aligncenter" width="300"][/media-credit]BY ALBERT AMATEAU  |  Anthony DeGiglio, a lifelong Village resident and devoted volunteer at St. Joseph’s Church and at St. Vincent’s Hospital, died Tues., Jan. 28, in a Bronx hospice at age 86.

He was diagnosed with cancer in November, said his nephew John Mirvish, of Alexandria, Va.

A decorated Army medic in World War II and a shipping industry executive until he retired 20 years ago, DeGiglio belonged to a Franciscan secular order that helped establish scholarships in three Franciscan colleges.

Reverend John McGuire, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church and of the New York University Catholic Center, recalled arriving at St. Joseph’s 15 years ago when Anthony was serving as sacristan and Eucharistic minister. At the same time, he also served the communion host to Catholic patients at St. Vincent’s until the hospital closed in 2010.

“He read the scripture at our Mass every weekday, almost without fail,” said McGuire. “He often said to me, ‘Father, you work too hard. You should let me help you.’ About two years ago, I was a patient at St. Vincent’s and who was standing over me? Anthony. He said, ‘I told you that you work too hard,’ ” McGuire recalled.

Anthony DeGiglio was born in the South Village on Sept. 5, 1925, the only boy among 11 sisters, to Antonio and Angelina DeGiglio, Italian immigrants. He went to St. Anthony’s parochial school and started premedical studies at N.Y.U., but quit to join the Army on Dec. 3, 1943, during World War II at age 18.

A medical technician fifth grade in the 22nd Infantry, he was captured in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, his nephew said. “He told us he was forced to assist a German surgeon operating on a German officer,” Mirvish recalled. Anthony’s captivity ended shortly when Americans under General George S. Patton lifted the siege of Bastogne. DeGiglio earned the Bronze Star.

After discharge from the service in 1946 he considered studying for the priesthood, but instead earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University, a Franciscan school in Olean, N.Y.

He began working in the maritime industry after college, serving first as a purser on the Independence, an American Export passenger liner that served a Mediterranean route. He lived in Italy for a time while working for American Export. In the 1950s, he returned to Greenwich Village where he lived on W. Eighth St. until his death. He became the vice chairman of a consortium of maritime companies, “8900” Lines, with offices on Battery Place, which established marine cargo rates.

After he retired around 1990, he deepened his religious commitment.

In addition to his nephew, two sisters, Marie DeGiglio, of Manhattan, and Lucille Mirvish, of Toronto, survive.

Perazzo Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., was in charge of arrangements. The funeral was Wed., Feb. 1, at St. Joseph’s Church on Sixth Ave. at Washington Place, and burial was in the family plot in Calvary Cemetery in Queens.

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