World War II Navy Veteran Ernest Caputo had a kind and gentle manner, wife Lena Caputo said.
The couple, who were married almost 68 years, met while growing up in the Burnside neighborhood of Chicago. They were blessed with two daughters, Sandra and Carol, and grandchildren Doug and Nikki, Lena Caputo said.
Ernest Caputo, 91, of Dyer and formerly of Chicago and South Holland, came to Chicago from San Lucido, Italy, in 1927 with his family. Together, they endured the great depression.
During World War II, Caputo was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ranger.
Caputo earned extra pay and demonstrated his spirit of adventure by accompanying fledgling pilots as they practiced carrier takeoffs and landings, his daughter Sandy Janssen said.
His family spent anxious days as the enemy spread rumors the ship had been sunk by U-boats in the North Atlantic. Caputo’s brother Tony, who was 14 years old at the time, recalls running through puddles in the alleys to deliver the good news when Caputo made a surprise visit home, Lena Caputo said.
Caputo combined his welder and journeyman sheet metal skills while working at Cyclone Blow Pipe to pioneer the use of plastics in the heating and cooling industry, Lena Caputo said.
Active in their communities, the Caputos contributed many hours to the success of the St. Joseph’s Table Benefit for Holy Ghost Parish in South Holland.
“He was always ready to help anyone who needed a hand in any way he could,” Janssen said.
Son-in-law Chuck Janssen often recalls there isn’t a room in his house that hasn’t been significantly improved by Caputo in some way.
The family also benefited from the abundance of Caputo and his wife's summer vegetable garden, Sandra Janssen said.
"He was very proud of his garden,” she said.