Dominick Spinelli, 74 of Rome, New York died June 4, 2020 at Presbyterian Home New Hartford, where he resided for the last seven years and passed peacefully but not without a hard fight from Parkinson’s disease, which he had for the last 16 years of his life. He was also affectionately known, as Gege, Cheech, Dom and Pop by many that loved him.
He was born on April 30, 1946 in Rome, New York. He was the son of the late Michael Spinelli, and Josephine (Strange) and Wilbert Q. Dunlap.
Dominick was a graduate of Columbus School on Sixth Street, and a RFA alumni. He was varsity center player of RFA football, and his team’s picture can be seen hanging at Savoy’s Restaurant, Lucky #67. He also was on the varsity track team and was known for shot-put and discus. He obtained his BA degree in Business Administration from SUNY Empire, a Master’s degree in Adult Education from Elmira College, as well as his CAS in Administration. He also earned a Training of Trainers Certificate to teach Adult Education.
Dominick wore several hats. He was a service manager for C. Weaver Chevrolet, in Utica, New York. He was an evaluation assessor and adjunct Professor in the Business Management and Education programs through SUNY Empire. He substituted in various local school districts for a short period, while completing his Intern administration hours through Frankfort CSD. Dominick was also a Quality advisor and Total Quality Management Instructor for the USAF. He served in the USAF where he traveled and lived in many states, including Puerto Rico, where his middle child was born.
Dominick was awarded the National Contract Management Associations/Air Force Institute of Technology Professional Designation in Contract Management and was Level II certified in Contract Management in the Air Force Acquisition Professional Development Program. Before his retirement, he was employed by the U.S Government as a Contract Specialist at Rome Labs on Griffiss Air Force Base.
Mr. Spinelli served on Rome’s Board of Education for two terms as a President and member: always with a positive outlook promoting the education of children. He was often quoted in the paper for advocating for education, school taxes and funding for the public library. He was also an executive committee member for the NYS Small Cities School Board in Albany, New York. He loved talking about education, and advanced learning. Dominick was always interested in his children’s education and would often help their friends and many others with their applications. He encouraged his three children to pursue higher education for better opportunities in life, “Nobody can ever take your degree from you.”
Dominick was 32 Degree Mason of the Roman Hatheway Lodge #223, and a member of the Scottish Rite. In addition, he was a Shriner of the Utica Ziarya Temple. He was also a devote participant at the Presbyterian Nursing Home’s Church.
For a few years, Dominick was “Coach Spinelli” for Columbus School Basketball team; Advisor for Staley Junior High’s Chess Club; Member of the Rome Sports Hall of Fame.
He enjoyed fitness and staying healthy, during a time in his life he was vegetarian, but could never really give up meatballs and sausage. He taught fitness classes at the YMCA and ran Utica’s Boilermaker 3x’s in his lifetime. He earned a black belt in karate. He was a skeet shooter with his friend, Phil Huggins, and received an Inter-American games gold medal. He was a tennis player but could never win against Mellony. They enjoyed years of cross-country skiing and outdoor activities together.
Dominick was an avid reader, educator, numismatist and philatelic. He loved looking at old-fashioned cars and collecting stamps. As a horologist, he had a love for watches and spent much of his spare time researching watches. He enjoyed reading the local Daily Sentinel and the Sunday New York Times with black coffee in hand, a scrumptious sfogliatelle from a local bakery and some NPR music in the background. Home was his favorite place, no place would he rather be. He often said “no” to engagements and other parties because he wanted to be home “Let’s stay home, Mel.” He loved to neighborhood watch and kept track of all the activities on Sixth Street. He knew where his children were at all times, even into adulthood.
Dominick loved Italian food and would often cook for family and friends, especially his homemade pizzas. He loved going out for fish-fry on Friday nights and eating homemade lasagna. He was always open to getting a local pizza delivered with everything on it! Still talked about ole memories of “chucking clams” with Coach Myz on the 4th of July, making the gravy on Thanksgiving and eating the seven fishes on Christmas Eve. He especially loved the holidays and the holiday tunes that went on throughout the entire season. He was a man of many ties and white pressed monogramed shirts, and always enjoyed going to work, especially around the holidays “They always have Christmas cookies in the staff room.” Thank you for the pizzelles, Marie Viselli. He loved watching the NY Yankees and would enjoy sitting with his children with a big bowl of popcorn while watching black and white films. Dominick was always up for company while he watched a movie or bird watching in his backyard. He loved a good ole’ fashion BBQ on Memorial/Labor Day “Mel, what’s for dessert?” He loved looking through the back-to-school to catalogs and picking out monogrammed school essentials for all his family. I believe we all have a briefcase, and a scarf or two. He loved cashmere scarves, and he could be seen wearing one most months out of the year, along with a cloth hanky and a flat cap.
Survived is his wife of 54 years, Mellony Butterworth Spinelli. He and his Southern Belle were united in matrimony on April 8, 1966. They have two daughters, Angela and (Edward) Alcaraz; Melissa and (John) Moser; and their son, Anthony Dominick and Valerie Miller-Spinelli. Dominick has four grandchildren, Oliver, Annabelle, Jane and Elisabeth; honorary “grandson” Vincent Dominick son of Vincent and Kristen Waterman; and several cousins, especially, Ron and Millie Edick; and his beloved dog, Maya of 16 years.
Special thanks to friends Dan Tartaglia, Jeanie and Amy Millington, and Scott Burch, and the late Carl Burch for being such reliable, supportive friends to “Dom” and all their friends who showed up and supported our family through many Team Dom Parkinsons’s walks (Myslinskis, Lomerys and Lisewskis).
Dominick was a modest, kindhearted gentleman who deeply loved his family and fought like a champ to beat Parkinson’s disease. A special thanks to Presbyterian Home, RN Marcia, and her staff on Elm: Marilyn, Cindy, Diane and Alyssa, long time Dr. Ulahannan, Dr. Arastu, Dr. Brehaut and Dr. Love.
He was predeceased by his brother Felix (June 1, 1972), special friends, Anthony Sardelli and Joseph Cristofaro (Joe Stamps) and many beloved “favorite” aunts and uncles.
Private ceremony. Burial at St. Peter’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Jervis Public Library.
Thank you to Strong-Burns & Sprock Funeral Home for their help in honoring our father.