Written by Dominic Posillico Friday, 25 February 2011 00:00
Korean Veteran, Real Estate
Developer and Broker, 79
As a little boy, Jim would watch the planes return from their missions over the skies of Europe, during the WWII conflict, and wonder, in their damaged state, how they’d be able to land at the Mitchell Field military complex next to his home. Inspired by such heroics, he would eventually become a pilot and mechanic in the first established US Army platoon that would test the use of helicopters to rescue wounded soldiers in the field of battle, during the Korean War. Each pilot’s duty was not only to fly their helicopter but also repair it in the field of conflict, if necessary. The record breaking, long running television show, Mash, depicting these Army units, left out one very important episode over the years. The one that described the hearing loss experienced by the pilots who flew these rescue copters. Jim would eventually lose all his hearing due to this, but not his vision and dedication to his family, friends and community.
His first office on Old Country Road in Westbury, later to be known as Posillico Real Estate and Construction, was instrumental in the development of the Old Country Road corridor in Westbury. Jim worked tirelessly, as if he never had a disability at all. At times holding three jobs while raising a family and maintaining a decent handicap on the golf course. His brother-in-law, Joseph Iannotti, another disabled WWII veteran, would joke with him as they both play golf, “ If you could only hear, and I could only see, we’d both have one heck of a golf game.” As his son playing with them would later recall, “Golfing with a blind and deaf vet is quite an experience!”
But most important, Jim’s love and dedication to his family, friends and community was his greatest accomplishment of all. His 40 years of service to The Sons of Italy, as a founding member, president and principal trustee of the Galileo Lodge, in Hicksville, had Jim utilizing all his talents. From designing and remodeling the lodge, to cooking banquet meals in the kitchen, to championing the many charitable causes that the lodge took on over the years, along with his beloved brothers and sisters of the lodge, Jim’s efforts and participation was essential to the success and overall outcome of each endeavor. One of Westbury’s oldest and most honorable members will be greatly missed.
Jim’s beloved wife Rita, of 39 years, will surely greet him at the pearly gates. Jim is survived by his three children, Margo Messina, Dominic and Jim Jr.; sister Mary Caiazza; his companion and friend for the past 16 years, Vestra Chianese; nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.