Children: James (Madalene) Corsoro, Diane (Joe) Castellana, Toni Corsoro Helman, Karen Corsoro-Leone
Grandchildren: Lisa (Corsoro) Rooks, Anthony Corsoro, William Catania, Joseph Castellana, Jamie Castellana, Carri (Catania) Knapp, Russell Leone, Mara Leone and Anthony Leone.
Great-grandchildren: Matthew Catania, Rachel Corsoro, Will Rooks, Alyssa Rooks, Christopher Catania, Nicholas Castellana, Christopher Corsoro, Jenna Catania, Madelyn Knapp, Ryan Castellana, Claire Knapp.
Anthony Corsoro, U.S. Army
Anthony Corsoro, or "Tony" to friends and family, was born the son of James and Virginia (Porpiglia) on Oct. 29, 1916.
Growing up in Dunkirk in the 1920s meant the whole family worked together to keep themselves fed, clothed, and warm in the winter months. The Dutch Hill family was a large one, and that meant as the fourth child, Corsoro didn't get any breaks when it came to pulling his weight. Any time there was a chance to bring in some money to put in the family cookie jar, Corsoro took it. This involved anything from small jobs like splitting wood or shoveling snow to farm work in the summer.
The summer months saw him walking along Lake Shore Drive to Shorewood Country Club. He wasn't on his way to playing the course. The long, four-mile walk was just a warm up for the 18 holes Corsoro would walk carrying a wealthy club members' golf bag. The average pay he earned for this was around five cents per round. If all of Corsoro's chores were done by the weekend, he would get up at 5:30 a.m. to be at the course by 7:30, where he'd hope to get in two rounds of carrying someone's clubs. After 36 holes, Tony would return home, triumphant and smiling, with ten cents in his pocket!
Once school was behind him, Corsoro found himself working as a molder helper, third class, making molds for various valves and plumbing devices. This kept him busy, since our country was in full gear concerning production. There was just one problem.
We were busy making refrigerators and televisions in the United States, while in Germany, the small country we considered the losers of World War I, they were busy making tanks and artillery pieces. Europe was going to sleep with the winds of war whistling through the countryside, while we were celebrating the fact that we had come out of a crippling recession. Every day something new was invented, spirits were high, and life seemed good.
That was until Americans awoke all over the country in December of 1941 to the news that we had been attacked on our own soil. President Roosevelt made it official: The United States would join World War II.
The future was uncertain for Anthony Corsoro. The only thing he knew for sure was that he would proudly do his duty. Not having any idea of where he would go or what his specific job would be made no difference to him.
With half of the U.S. Navy Pacific fleet sitting on the bottom of Pearl Harbor and the Army with only one active division that was trained for combat, the country knew it needed time to organize before jumping into any battles. Wanting to sign papers on Dec. 8, 1941, Corsoro was told to go home and wait until he got called. Going back to work, he realized the war was for real. He looked around him and saw that his factory was no longer making run-of-the-mill valves. They were filling orders for artillery gun pieces.
Without knowing where he would go or when he would leave, Corsoro had to settle one thing. His beautiful girlfriend, Carolyn Provenzo, lived in Silver Creek. She was the girl Corsoro knew he wanted to marry. He promised her that when he returned from the war, he would marry her. He ended up keeping that promise in September of 1946.
Like most who entered the Army, Corsoro went through all the training. He was then ordered to an infantry battalion, the 337th Company B, that fought in battles at Po Valley, North Appennines, Rome, Arno, Anzio and Africa. While in a fire fight in Anzio, Corsoro was hit by shrapnel from an enemy's eight-inch artillery round. He was evacuated to an Army hospital. After six weeks of healing, he made a request to rejoin his unit while they were engaged in hand-to-hand combat at Arno. For his courage and the injuries he sustained, Corsoro was awarded the Purple Heart.
For most of his time spent in the Army, Corsoro held the rank of platoon sergeant. This title carried the responsibility of making sure the entire platoon was one hundred percent ready to engage in combat, and that all of the soldiers carried the essential items needed to meet an enemy force, like batteries, bulbs, and radio tubes. Forgetting these things could cost the lives of the entire platoon. With this rank came a lot of respect. The soldiers beneath him put their lives in his hands.
In addition to the Purple Heart, for his time spent in the service Corsoro was also awarded the American Campaign Medal, the European African Medal, the Middle East Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. He was an Expert M1 and a sharpshooter with a .45-caliber pistol. By the time the war ended and Corsoro returned home, he had attained the rank of staff sergeant. His overseas duty lasted from Jan. 1, 1944 to Aug. 3, 1946.
After the war ended, the newly married Corsoro landed a job with the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation. He obtained a position at their Dunkirk steam station in the mechanical maintenance department. His duties involved maintaining all of the mechanical equipment necessary to produce electricity.
Life was once again interrupted in 1957, when Corsoro was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After a successful surgery, Corsoro went on with his life, performing his duties as a husband and father to his children, James, Diane, Toni, and Karen. He put them first and made sure they had everything they needed. For Corsoro, this meant sometimes working around the clock and on weekends, making sure there were no electrical or mechanical problems with any of the machinery.
After work in the winter months, Corsoro loved to bowl. In the summertime, it was slow pitch softball, with the gas company trying to beat the boys from the steam station. Many parties were held by and for steam station employees, and Corsoro often joined his friends Matt Burns, Vince Coniglio, Ross Conti, Irish Coughlin, Dick Christy, Stan Saeli and Ange Leone. His friend Robert Layman made major overhauls a little easier. Surrounded by these friends and his family, the hard-working Corsoro spent his days content.
After 53 years of marriage, Corsoro departed this world to be with his Lord on Christmas Day 1999. His family states that Christmas Day was his favorite day of the year.
Anthony Corsoro was another U.S. veteran who just went and did his job, came home, and started his life again. I had the opportunity to work with Tony at the Dunkirk steam station. He was a mechanic and I was an electrician. He was a great man to work with, always doing his job, never complaining, ready to do what needed to be done to get things right. He was a quick with and a practical joker.
Once, Corsoro and a few of his coworkers noticed a newer employee had been taking the sandwiches left in bags on the lockers after lunch was over. Having realized who the culprit was, Corsoro asked his wife to make him a tuna fish sandwich. Except this time, he asked her to replace the tuna fish with cat food! He left it for the sandwich thief, and all the guys stood around laughing when the man started coughing up the sandwich. From that day on, no more sandwiches went missing!
Corsoro and his friends enjoyed a few harmless jokes in the break room. But all those years taking breaks together, did those other men know about the war Corsoro saw? Did they know he fought in Anzio, Po Valley, and Rome? Did they know he was wounded in combat and was a Purple Heart recipient? Maybe not. But that was Tony. A combat soldier who knew all about war, but felt it was best to keep that out of everyday life. Going over the chronological reports of Corsoro's 337th Company B, I read page after page of men engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. On the Combat History page of the 337th, I read that in the month of August 1944, Corsoro's company issued a report which contained the following: Enlisted Men 647, Officers 78, KIA U.S. 64 enlisted, Officers 11, WIA U.S. 178 enlisted, Officers 27, Bronze Stars 12 enlisted, Silver Stars 1 enlisted, Friendly Fire 2 enlisted. Those men in the break room couldn't have known what their friendly and witty coworker had been through.
Corsoro enjoyed his family, and it was common for him to take walks with his grandchildren through Dunkirk. When they walked past the steam plant, it was common for Corsoro to ask "What do you think they make in that plant?" The grandchild would answer, "Electricity! Am I right, Grandpa?" Corsoro would answer, "No, they make old men in that plant! When I started there I was young!"
Corsoro's wife, Carolyn, now resides in Westfield. All of his friends and family miss his warmth and sense of humor. Through their memories, he lives on. Anthony Corsoro is a hero.