Alphonse “Buck” Iannacone — the 2012 Memorial Day parade grand marshal, a 61-year PAL volunteer, and a Bronze Star and Purple Heart winner for his military service during the Battle of the Bulge — died Friday. He was 88.
In his 6 decades with PAL, he did just about everything. He was a coach, an organizer, a board member, a field maintenance guy, a fundraiser, and a good friend to thousands of young athletes.
A former US Postal Service worker and local union president, he was also a member of the Saugatuck Volunteer Fire Department, Laurel Athletic Club and a dedicated volunteer with both Special Olympics and Star.
Buck received plenty of honors, including a National PAL Award in 2008. He was cited by the Sportsmen of Westport, Norwalk Old Timers and the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance. Three years before leading the Memorial Day parade, he served as grand marshal of Festival Italiano.
But of all the kudos Buck Iannacone got, one was extra special. In 2001 — dressed in caps and gowns, and marching across stage — he and 5 other World War II veterans from Norwalk received high school diplomas.
Like the others, Buck had left school to join the military. The shrapnel he took in the Battle of the Bulge put him in a British hospital for 8 months.
Buck Iannacone served his country well. And — for the last 61 years — he did the same for Westport.
(Services will be held on Wednesday, July 30, at 9:30 a.m. at Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East, and 10 a.m. at Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Avenue. Internment, with full military honors, follows at Assumption Cemetery, Kings Highway North. Friends may visit the family on Tuesday, july 29, from 4-8 p.m. at the Harding Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Buck Iannacone’s name to the Westport PAL Scholarship Fund, c/o Sam Arciola, 50 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880.)