Fr. Robert Henry Passalacqua ’47, Nov. 6, 2012. He was 90 years old at the time of his death, having served as a priest of the Diocese of San Jose for nearly 30 years.
Robert Henry Passalacqua, the son of Henry and Blessilla Passalacqua, was born in Milan, Italy, on January 17, 1922, while his father, Henry, was on a singing tour of Europe. After attending schools in Healdsburg, Calif., he entered Santa Clara University in 1940. His education was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army from 1943 – 1946. After the war, Lt. Passalacqua returned to Santa Clara and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University and was the recipient of the Nobili Award (years later, in 1985, the Ignatian Award for community service). Following graduation, he attended Stanford University and earned his teaching and administrative credentials and a master’s degree.
During the war, Bob met U.S. Army 1st lieutenant Bernadine Barthel, a nurse with Patton’s 3rd Army, and married her in 1946 in Marburg, Germany. Together they raised four sons: James ’70, M.A. ’75, M.A. ’81, Daniel ’73, Philip ’75, and Kenneth. The Passalacqua Family was active in Saint Christopher’s Parish in San Jose, where the boys attended school. Bea was parish secretary, and Bob was a generous parish volunteer at St. Christopher’s. Bob worked for over 30 years in the East Side Union High School District as a dedicated English teacher and Department Chairman at James Lick High School and as District Coordinator of English.
Bob entered formation for the Permanent Diaconate of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and was ordained a Deacon on April 20, 1979, six months after the death of his wife. Eventually, Bob petitioned Archbishop Quinn to be allowed to study for the Priesthood. He attended St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park and was the first priest ordained by Bishop Pierre DuMaine in the newly established Diocese of San Jose on January 14, 1983.
Father Bob was assigned as Parochial Vicar in the following parishes in the Diocese of San Jose: Saint Lawrence the Martyr Parish, Ascension Parish, and Saint Lucy Parish. He was also Administrator Pro-Tem at Ascension Parish and Parish Pro-Tem at Saint Nicholas Parish.
Retiring in 1997, Father Bob continued his priestly ministry at Saint Lucy Parish for several years. Later, with the generous assistance of Ed DeGregorio and Mike Jeffords, he was able to extend his ministry all the way to his death. He will long be remembered for his “fatherly” wisdom, his sense of humor, and his great desire to serve in any way that he was able.
Father Passalacqua is survived by his sons James, Daniel, Philip, Kenneth; daughters-in-law Barbara, Julie ’73, Susan, Corine; grandchildren Kevin (Katie), Stacey, Timothy (Jessi), Leanne, Katie (Dave Kintz), Mary, Misa, Robert, Sara, Rachel, Gabrielle; and great grandchildren Henry, Sophie, Max, and Mae.