SALEM — Dr. Louis C. Fittante, 82, died on Sunday, November 10, 2013, at home surrounded and by his family, after a long illness. He was the beloved husband of Mary Angela (Barnes) Fittante, with whom he shared 55 years of marriage.
Louis “Gigi” was born in Catanzaro, Italy, on March 22, 1931. He was the beloved son of the late Federico and Pia Dora (Corea) Fittante. Louis served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War era and was stationed in Germany, Austria, and eventually Vicenza, Italy, where he served as an Italian interpreter/translator. After completing military service he worked for the U.S. Foreign Service in Madrid, Spain, where he met his future wife. Dr. Fittante received a bachelor’s degree from Salem State College, a degree from MIT, and a doctorate degree in education from the University of Georgia. He was a professor of mathematics for more than 25 years at Endicott Junior College. Dr. Fittante became the head of the mathematics department and pioneered the computer department for Endicott.
Gigi was a lover of Italian bell canto opera and a self-taught singer, practicing favorite arias in the basement of his home. A brilliant and robust man, quick to laugh, with a zeal for life, and a healthy distrust of organizations, he had an uncanny ability to take apart, fix and build anything. Louie also had a farmer's green thumb, and grew grapes to make his own wine. A lover of good home cooking, nutrition, vitamins, and natural remedies, he enjoyed vibrant health until he lost his vision, due to macular degeneration. Even as a legally blind man, he continued to analyze and study, via short wave radio broadcasts, world news programs in English, Spanish, Italian and French.
Gigi's teen years in a Franciscan monastery school left him with a lifelong compassion for the underdog, and a generosity and good will to all. He was strong, extremely bright and an earthy man, with a capacity to see the big picture. A born teacher and a leader amongst his peers with a distaste for attention, he lived his life with honesty, in the pursuit of knowledge, and devotion to his family. A man of his word with no pretenses, Louis had a gentle kindness and a temper that quickly subsided and backbone and courage to live according to his values and heart. His presence, love and resilience will be deeply missed.