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Dan Colonnello

U.S. Army
WWII | Battle of the Bulge

My determined and resilient dad, Danny Colonnello, was the eldest of four boys born to Anthony and Margaret Colonnello. He was proudly born on June 14, 1925 - coincidentally the same day as Flag day, which was appropriate for him because he was so patriotic. He lived with his family on Marianne Street and also on La Forge Avenue in Port Richmond.

After graduating from Port Richmond High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a cook, and later a scout for his troop. His battalion docked in Le Havre, Normandy, France in 1944. They were stationed at the front lines bordering France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. He participated in one of the most terrifying battles of the end of WWII. The Germans, in their last attempt to stop the allied offensive, concentrated their force in the hilly and forested region of the Bulge (Ardennes, France) in the winter 1944-45, where they tried to overcome their lack of material inferiority by using the terrain. Danny was in the front lines, spearheading. Digging trenches and foxholes, they had to defend their position and dislodge Germans to clear the way for vehicles. It was a traumatic experience for him. Spending night camouflaged, he could hear the Germans talking and bullets whistling. He was shot at, and realized his canteen was hit and the bullet was lodged in it, saving his life. One day, being frostbitten, he had to be rushed to receive medical attention in order not to lose his toes. The next day, the Germans came to the foxhole where he had been. One more close encounter with death as a young soldier!

Upon his return home from the war at about 20 years old, Dan often strolled down Port Richmond Avenue. It was there where he met my mother, Grace Santacroce, while she was working in the 5&10 cent store. They were married for 65 years before his death in 2012. They had one daughter, Margaret Barranco (Colonnello), two grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren (two of whom are his namesake).

Dan was an entrepreneur his whole life along with his wife, Grace. He started out in children’s shoes along with a clothing store, Elizabeth Shop in Great Kills, as well as several bakeries, all simultaneously. Later in life he built a building on New Dorp Lane, where in 1973 he opened In Phase Fashions – which was a fixture there for nearly five decades, specializing in prom, mother-of-the-bride, bridal and evening gowns and dresses. He worked well into his 80’s doing beading of dresses and gowns.

One of his hobbies was horse racing and had invested in owning many racehorses throughout his adult life. He was also talented in remodeling homes which he did for a family beach house, his daughter's home, as well as projects he took on for his grandchildren. He was a dedicated and hard-working family man.

Sponsored by Margaret Barranco

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