Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Dennis H. Rosaia ’50, born 05/26/1924 and died 05/20/2012 peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family just a few days before his 88th birthday. Beloved husband of 62 years to Lillian, loving father of Dennis (Chris), Lynne, Wayne (Cathy) and David (Kim) Rosaia. Proud Nonno of Gina (James) Collins, Dan (Deana) Rosaia, Lauren and Lindsey Rosaia, Derek Rosaia, Vanessa and Rebecca Powers and Kevin and Gary Patzelt. Adoring great grandfather of Grace Collins. Dear brother of the late Roy and Thelma Rosaia. Survived by many relatives here and in Italy. Dennis was born in South San Francisco to Italian immigrants Dante and Ernesta Rosaia and graduated from SSF High School in 1943. He entered the Merchant Marine Service, traveled around the world as a cadet and graduated as a 2nd Assistant Engineer from the Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, Long Island, New York. Following his service, he attended Santa Clara University, graduating with a degree in industrial engineering in 1950. In 1949 Dennis married his home town sweetheart, Lillian Sani and from their modest beginnings in a Quonset hut near campus, they began a rich family and business life together. Dennis established D&M Liquors in 1954 on Grand Avenue and grew a thriving business first with his partner Mario Pieretti, later as a sole proprieter, and finally as proud partner with his 3 sons in D&M Liquor and Deli on Spruce Ave. He believed that the family that worked together, stayed together. Extremely civic minded, Dennis was a highly respected and active community leader, serving as President of the SSF Downtown Merchants Association, President of YMI Council #32, Past President and Director of SSF Rotary Club, 16 year Board member of SSF Conference Center, SSF Parking Commission, member of Italian Catholic Federation, SIRS Branch #91, Italian-American Citizens Club, and SSF Elks. Dennis was a man of great Catholic faith and an active parishioner of All Souls Parish, serving as the head of the Rebuilding Committee following the 1964 church fire, chairing parish festivals, numerous fundraisers and still recently serving on the Finance Committee for the "Fixing God’s House" campaign. He thrived being around people and was at every community event possible, working the room and charming everyone with his warm personality. He never missed the annual Santa Clara Engineering Class of 1950 reunions. Throughout it all, Lillian was at his side- behind the counter at D&M, raising the children, working at All Souls events, hosting exchange students, traveling the world and caring for him for nearly 63 years. She fulfilled his final wish by being the last face that he saw in this life. Dennis was a loving and encouraging father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Christmas Eve at Nonno’s was an event he planned to the smallest detail-song sheets, trivia contests, games, great food-it was his "command performance" every year. Dennis endured health problems over the years but rarely let illness slow him down. His determination and enthusiasm for life helped him fight back time after time. During his final illness, Dennis was in charge until the end, planning his funeral, enjoying all the delicious foods he had been restricted from eating, holding court with the family, and tenderly saying his loving goodbyes to his family and close friends.