Fioravante Pisano, “Firearms Act”, 14 Feb 1951

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The police arrested Fioravante Pisano because he’d fired a gun in his basement. His wife, Amelia, thought he was going to kill himself. They charged him with a firearms violation and took his photograph when they booked him, but let him go once he’d calmed down. No harm done, and it was Valentine’s day.

Fioravante had been sick and depressed for a long time. Things hadn’t been good since the war. He and his brother Joe had been sent to New Guinea, which Joe said was an unhealthy place for whites, with rain all year and too many jungles and insects—“a hellhole if ever there was one.” Fioravante was sent back to America early in 1945 with a bad case of malaria while Joe stayed out there and got shot in the neck by a Japanese sniper. Joe got better and went on to fight in the Philippines, but Fioravante couldn’t shake his illness. It came and went and left him too weak to do much.

He married Amelia on a trip back to New Castle from the hospital in Camp Butner. They set up home when he got out of the army, but Fioravante was too ill to hold down his old job at the National Radiator plant. He ended up working in the railroad yard.

The year after Fioravante’s arrest, Amelia had a baby. They called him Patrick, and he died before he was one month old. Amelia died the following summer—1953—after an operation went wrong. She was thirty-four.

Fioravante married a nurse called Alene McMichaels in the summer of 1954, and they had a baby boy more or less nine months later. He was still sick, still depressed. He shot himself in the head when the child was just a few months old. Alene’s brother found him dead in his bedroom, a revolver in his hand. He was thirty-five. Alene buried him beside Amelia and moved back to Mercer County, to be with her parents. She died in 2000, at the age of eighty.

Sources: New Castle News (22 December 1944, “T-Sgt Joe Pisano Wounded In Action”; 9 February 1945, “E. Lackawannock”; 29 March 1945, “Okuzo-Pisano Marriage; 21 May 1945, “S-Sgt Joe Pisano Is Again Wounded”; 22 May 1945, “On Convalescent Furlough Here”; 25 August 1945, “Local Soldier In Combat Area”; 14 February 1951, “Police Told Man Fired Bullet In Basement Of Home”; 28 November 1952, “Births Reported”; 19 June 1953, “Deaths of the Day”; 10 August 1955, “Deaths Of The Day”; 11 July 1973, “Deaths Of The Day”);, “Fioravante Pisano”, Memorial ID 183553064;, “Jeff Pisano”.


  1. A few years ago on an early spring day, my wife and I decided to take a walk through Arlington National Cemetery. We walked up to the Lee Mansion, and then over to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    Calling it a day, we were walking back to the car, and I was reading the markers as we walked. What I noticed was the huge amount of vets buried there that were born in the mid to late 1920’s and died in the early to mid 1950’s – WWII vets.

    Very little is written about PTSD and the WWII vets, compared to what we read about Vietnam vets, and the vets from our current conflicts. This poor lost soul took his own life, and no doubt he was tortured by the demons of his war experiences.

    It makes me wonder how many of those grave markers I saw in Arlington hold a similar history.

    • That’s very interesting, JM. I expect your suspicion is correct, too. I suppose someone’s done a study on it – might be worth having a dig around to see if I can find one…

  2. Just some data from the death certificate:

    Born in Flint, Michigan
    Parents were Nicholas Pisano and Mary Fuscaldo
    Occupation at time of death: Unemployed
    Medical Certification (cause of death): Gunshot would of right temple while mentally unsound
    (further down it clarifies/confirms it as suicide rather than accident or homicide, and mentions the gun was a .32 caliber revolver

    According to her own death cert, Mary Fuscaldo Pisano was born in Italy in 1887 and died (as a widow) in New Castle in 1965. Her parents names were Michael and Angela Fuscaldo.

    Nothing conclusive on Fioravante’s father.

    • Thanks for checking them out. All I’ve got on his mother is that she was born in Calabria and came to the USA in 1903, at the age of 15 or 16. She died of whatever it is the obituaries mean when they say “a lingering illness”.

  3. Daniel P Truitt says

    Interesting thing to me is that he shot himself on the right side of his head and that staple in the pic goes through the right side of his head. The staple in the right hand pic looks like an ear ring, by the way.

  4. Pingback: The mugshot market – Context and Narrative

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