Domenick Italiano, South Philly drinking water ice entrepreneur, dies at 90

Domenick Italiano, 90, creator of Italiano’s H2o Ice, died Sunday, June 13, of coronary heart sickness in his South Philadelphia dwelling.

Mr. Italiano, affectionately regarded as Mousey due to his velocity or diminutive stature — dependent on whom you check with — opened his loved ones water ice enterprise at his house at South 12th and Shunk Streets in 1976. Some would say it was in his blood his father, the late Filippo Italiano, began advertising shaved ice and syrup from a pushcart and afterwards opened Pop’s, another South Philly h2o ice establishment.

Italiano’s H2o Ice grew to become a summertime tradition, and the organization laid declare to becoming the originator of the Gelati, a mouth watering layering of ice product and h2o ice now a staple at numerous stands.

But as tasty as his treats ended up, a lot of prospects arrived to Italiano’s walk-up window for the included enjoyment of the proprietor’s sunny individuality.

“He’d be outside singing. He could have a tune. A cappella,” his daughter Nanci Italiano mentioned. “He liked conversing to the folks. He beloved building his h2o ice. They’d say, ‘How do you make it?’ He’d say, ‘I make it with looove.’ “

Mr. Italiano was born in South Philadelphia and elevated by his father and mom, Teresa Italiano.

Mr. Italiano served in the U.S. Military all through the Korean War. When he returned property, he met and married his spouse, Nora, and they raised 3 youngsters in South Philadelphia.

For about 20 decades, Mr. Italiano labored for IBM in Middle Town in what was then the office environment products and solutions division, overseeing the rental of devices these kinds of as typewriters. His daughter realized immediately after her father’s demise that he was a happy-go-lucky jokester who frequently brought in espresso and corn muffins for his coworkers. He operated the water-ice business summer evenings and weekends.

“He could have been promoted [at IBM], but he would have had to uproot his relatives,” his daughter explained. “He was happy with his scaled-down work, being where he was and where every person cherished him. He did that to continue to keep us stable listed here. He was joyful as that typical dude.”

Mr. Italiano was also a Mummer, a longtime member of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade. Superior with his palms and tools, he helped build their floats.

“He was a Mummer by way of and through. He was a Mummer permanently,” his daughter stated.

Mr. Italiano also liked creating a wager now and then. He liked football as a sport, played street ball as a younger gentleman and had a great deal of respect for Tom Brady, but he was not a partisan of any a person workforce, Nanci Italiano said.

“No football team was his favorite,” she reported. “Whatever he experienced his income on, that was his favourite.”

He liked betting on the horses, far too. The other day, Mr. Italiano’s daughter stopped by the Turf Club, an offtrack betting spot in South Philadelphia, to get a copy of the Everyday Racing Application to deliver together with her father in his journey to the afterlife. He went to the club generally, for social motives as considerably as anything at all else.

The regulars were being saddened to learn of Mr. Italiano’s demise.

“The Ice Gentleman!” one of them explained, upon hearing the information.

“He would have appreciated that,” his daughter claimed.

Mr. Italiano is also survived by one more daughter, Donna Italiano two grandchildren one wonderful grandchild and other relations. His wife, son Frankie, five siblings, and mom died before. His father’s second wife Savina Italiano, Mr. Italiano’s stepmother, also died ahead of him.

A viewing was held Thursday, June 17, at Murphy Ruffenach Brian W. Donnelly Funeral Dwelling, 2239 S. Third St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19148. Yet another viewing will be held Friday, June 18, from 9 to 10 a.m. at Stella Maris Catholic Church, 2901 S. 10th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19148. A Funeral Mass will observe at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Springfield, Pa.

Donations in Mr. Italiano’s memory may perhaps be built to Stella Maris Catholic Church.