The Stamford Historical Society Presents
Pride and Patriotism: Stamford’s Role in World War II
The biography below is from AN AMERICAN TOWN GOES TO WAR by Tony Pavia, 1995, ISBN: 1563112760
The book may be viewed at the Marcus Reseach Library of the Stamford Historical Society.
With permission by the author.
The DiPreta Brothers – The Fighting DiPretas
(as of 1995)
While many have heard of the five “Fighting Sullivan Brothers”, it was a Stamford family that sent an unprecedented seven boys overseas to fight in the Second World War.
(An article in the Stamford Advocate by Shirley Haner, November 28, 1964, states that the Kjera family of Minnesota also sent seven sons into World War II; however, not all served overseas.) *
Vincent and Concetta DiPreta of Avery Street raised twelve children, ten boys and two girls. When Mrs. DiPreta died in 1936 the family had to pull together and most of the responsibilities of caring for the family fell, first, to Palma, the oldest daughter, and later, to her younger sister Mary.
After Pearl Harbor, the lives of each family member were touched in some way by the war. The three oldest sons and their father were employed in vital defense industries. Alfred worked at Luders Boatyard in Stamford which manufactured PT Boats. Frank made fuses for bomb sites at a plant in Massachusetts and both Joseph and father Vincent worked at Yale & Towne. Palma and Mary had to bid farewell to seven brothers as they were called to serve their country.
Victor, who enlisted in the Army was the first to go overseas. His work with the Coast Artillery brought him to Iceland and Europe. Tom also entered the Army and served with an anti-aircraft battalion in Hawaii and Okinawa. Nick, a US Marine, and Dominick, who joined the Coast Guard, were both stationed in Saipan and Okinawa. Anthony served in the Navy as the quartermaster of a cargo ship and saw action at Okinawa. John, the youngest of the boys, served in Italy in 1945. Jimmy entered into the Marines and was sent to the Pacific. In November of 1943 he was killed in the assault on the island of Tarawa. When the war was over he was the first Connecticut boy to be brought home for burial. One by one the other boys returned home from the war, married local girls and resumed their lives in Stamford.
At present only three of the original twelve DiPreta children remain. Frank lives in New Canaan. Tony is retired and lives in Darien and Florida for part of the year. John, the Youngest in the family, lives in Norwalk. Mary, (Ienner), who resided in Stamford, passed away in 1995.
In the 1970’s under Mayor Julius Wilensky, the town dedicated a small park in the Cove to the memory of James DiPreta. The park also serves, in some small measure, as a permanent tribute to the family that sent seven of its boys off to war.
© Anthony Pavia, 1995
Five of the seven DiPreta brothers (l to r) Dominick, Thomas, Tony, Nicholas and John.
The pictures on the table are those of their other two brothers, James and Victor.
(from an Advocate Photo, 1964)
The DiPreta Family in 1977.
“7 sons in service WWII. There was an article in the Advocate.
Father Vincenzo DePreta (1977) – 94 years old.”
(Stamford Historical Society Archives)
* Note: Veteran William Rudman too was one of seven boys in the service from one family.
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