Obituary

Obituary Published in Scranton Times on December 21, 2009 [ Read Online ]

Michael Primo Carrera, 88, of West Scranton, died on Sunday morning at Mercy Hospital after an illness. He and his wife, Dolores A. Colger, celebrated 63 years of marriage.

Born in Belprato, Italy, on Oct. 7, 1921, he was the first-born son of the late Frank and Domenica Gabrieli Carrera. He emigrated to the United States in 1934. He attended Blessed Cabrini School. As a young man, Mike joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and was stationed in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where he honed his skills and became the camp carpenter. As a carpenter and all-around handyman, he could build, fix or repair almost anything and he became the "go to" guy for family and friends throughout his life. He was always generous and giving of his time, talents and tools.

Mike enlisted in the Marines and proudly served during World War II in Company C-1-23rd of the 4th Marine Division. He attained the status of expert rifleman during training. Mike was in combat on the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima during the famous raising of the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi. On Saipan, he was credited with saving the life of a fellow Marine. Mike was wounded on Saipan and was awarded the Purple Heart. In addition, he was awarded several campaign medals including the American Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.

After his military service, he became a lifetime member of VFW Post 6528, for which he has served as commander. He participated annually in Memorial Day salutes to fallen servicemen. He never forgot the men with whom he fought and he continued to honor the ultimate sacrifice they made for this country.

Mike was a barber before he began working at Superior Fireproof Door and Sash Co., Scranton, where he spent 37 years as a chief spot welder. He served as a union officer for the carpenters and joiners union and was highly respected by his peers as well as management.

After retiring from Superior, Mike found his niche working part-time at Doyle's Hardware in West Scranton, where he repaired windows and screens and cut keys.

Mike was a devout Catholic and a lifelong member of St. Lucy's Church, where he served as an usher over the years and a member of the Holy Name Society throughout his life.

Mike was a student and a teacher his entire life. He had a voracious curiosity about life and he loved to read and learn about a wide range of subjects, from astronomy and geography to environment. He was a true fountain of knowledge who shared that knowledge with others and who continued to grow and learn every day. He loved teaching children and spending time with them. He served as scoutmaster for Cub Scout Pack 77 at St. Lucy's Church for 13 years. As a Scout leader, in 1966 Mike led a group of Scouts on a hiking, backpacking and survival training expedition to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

He volunteered his time as a woodworking instructor at the Central City Boy's Club for many years, teaching hundreds of boys the enjoyment and pride of working with wood. He helped them learn to make thousands of wood objects, including decorative holiday reindeer and sleds. He was also active at the Boy's Club camp in Thompson, where he assisted the camp director in a variety of functions.

Throughout his life, Mike was a loving person who was devoted to God, country, family and his fellow man. He had a smile for everyone, and he always treated every person with respect and dignity. Everyone who knew him loved his happy personality and optimistic outlook. He was a joy to be around.

Mike was a pioneer environmentalist decades before it became a trend by practicing composting and recycling. He had great respect for the earth and all living creatures. He loved gardening and he grew hundreds of plants including roses, peonies and herbs, and he was particularly proud of his prolific grape vines.

His family was his greatest joy and a comfort to him throughout his life. He was a proud, loving and devoted father to his five children.

Also surviving are three sons, Michael and wife, Karen, Olyphant; Timothy and wife, Deborah, Pittsburgh; and Christopher and wife, Barbara, Scranton; two daughters, Marie and partner, Mollye Daughtry, Atlanta; and Kathy, Scranton; seven grandchildren, Corey, Holly, Michael, Dominic, Angela, Nicholas and Matthew; four great-grandchildren, Gianna, Bradon, Kyleigh and Niko; two sisters, Immaculate Menichello, Old Forge; and Rose and husband, Paul Panusky, Old Forge; many nieces and nephews.

He also was preceded in death by a brother, Samuel, in 1989; and a sister, Theresa Carlucci, in 2006.

The funeral will be Wednesday from the Carl J. Savino Funeral Home, 157 S. Main Ave., with Mass to be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. in St. Lucy's Church, West Scranton. Interment, Cathedral Cemetery.

Friends may pay their respects at the funeral home on Tuesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.