Remembering Cousin Gary: The Godfather of Us All

If Giuseppe was the founding father of our branch of the DiPaolo/DePollo family, then cousin Gary DePollo was the godfather.

You see, Gary was the keeper of the family history. He meticulously researched our genealogy, organizing it in a homegrown database. He cared for old family photos (of which there are many), and converted countless home movies to DVDs for posterity. He started a successful chain of family reunions — reuniting cousins near and far — and documented them all. Then he built a wonderful website to showcase all of it so relatives everywhere could share in the fruits of his labors. In short, he cared for all of us, as any good godfather would do, and demonstrated how to appreciate being a DiPaolo/DePollo from Thomas, W.Va.

I never really asked him why he had such a great passion for our family history. I probably should have. In general, I believe it was his love of family, his pride in his Italian heritage (he was also related to the Quattro or Quattrochi family from Davis on his mother’s side) and his fondness for wild, wonderful Tucker County that spurred him on.

The grandson of Giuseppe’s oldest son, Tony, Gary grew up in the Detroit suburbs, where his branch of the family had relocated for work during World War II. However, holidays and summer vacations were frequently spent in Thomas and Davis, and he had many fond memories , hanging out with cousins on both sides of his family. Recently, he and his brother Doug told of walking as teenagers from the Davis home of his Quattro grandparents to Blackwater Falls State Park — a distance of several miles. There was no real mission — just simple entertainment and perhaps a swim under the falls or a hike on a trail.

As he got older, Gary was the designated driver for his grandfather Tony’s annual visits to Thomas. Gary reminisced about afternoons spent shooting the breeze (or maybe it was “the bull?”) in DePollo’s Store on Front Street in Thomas with his Great Uncle John and twin cousins Joe and John. The DePollo family home place was above the store, and he felt a close connection to all who lived there.

So it was no surprise that Gary organized the inaugural DePollo Reunion in 2015 when the store building turned 100. Now the Purple Fiddle, the day was celebrated with tunes by family musicians, commemorative souvenirs made by Gary’s talented hands and a picnic at the Knights of Columbus pavilion nearby. With Gary’s help and support, we’ve managed to keep the annual reunion going for several years since then.

To say we are grateful to Gary would be an understatement. His tireless efforts to keep us connected to our Italian- American roots — and each other — have had a lasting impact. In addition, his kind and easygoing manner made you want to be a part of it all and join him for the ride.

Sadly, we will miss his quiet smile, his many talents and his friendship. We will do our best, dear Cousin, to travel the family ancestral trail you blazed. Hopefully, we can continue to care for the family tree you so lovingly planted and nurtured. R.I.P., Gary. Fino al nostro prossimo incontro.*

*Until we meet again.

(The photo Janice included is not loading and will be uploaded as soon as possible. We did not want to postpone sharing Janice’s beautiful thoughts to resolve the photo challenges.)


Welcome Home!

Father Jim O’Connor, of St. Brendan Catholic Church, Elkins WV played piano and sang this beautiful song during his eulogy for Joseph James DePollo.

Click the right arrow of the sound bar above to play the audio

Welcome Home
Those Who Love Me , by Unknown

When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears,
Be happy that we had so many years.
I gave you my love, you can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you have shown
But now it’s time I travel on alone.
So grieve awhile for me, if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a little while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near.
And if you listen with your heart you’ll hear
All of my love around you soft and dear.
And then, when you must come this way alone
I’ll greet you with a smile and
“Welcome Home.”

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2019 Reunion

This is the week when our 2019 Reunion will take place. If there is any possibility for you to attend, even if only for the day, please join us.

You don’t have to be a direct relative to join us. We welcome everyone who is related in any manner, in-laws, out-laws, cousins, second cousins, neighbors and friends. If you knew one of the family or any one of the families who are somehow related you are welcome to join and party with us. It’s an OPEN reunion for all who would like to say ‘Hi” to someone they know.

Saturday July 27, 2019 at the K of C park at the outskirt of Thomas, WV

Read the front page of this site and older Posts for additional details.

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Daniel Thomas DePollo

Daniel Thomas DePollo April 1988 – July 2019

With broken heart we must give notice of the passing of Daniel Thomas DePollo, age 31, son of Kevin John DePollo and Lynn (Thomas) DePollo. Dan was the youngest of three siblings. His sisters are Andrea (DePollo) Bierma (Jeff) and Kimberly Ann DePollo.

A quiet, gentle person, Dan will be missed by family and friends. He was an avid and very accomplished bowler which endeared him to his grandmother Adeline DePollo who herself shared a passion for that sport for many years.

Dan’s passing was a shocking saddening event. Our hearts go out to Kevin, Lynn, Andrea and Kim who are devastated that the youngest member of their family was taken far too early in life.

Dan, though single did have a special someone. Dan worked as a metal fabricator, specifically a highly skilled specialty welder. He worked hard and bought his own home. Dan had just returned earlier in the evening from a camping trip he had taken with his sister Kim. Dan had messaged his mom to let her know he was home but sadly hours later he passed unexpectedly.

May God bless Dan and bring him to heaven to be at his side. Please say a prayer or two for Dan and his family.

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Reunion 2019 Update

Our 2019 Family Reunion for the DePollo, Quattro, Waitkunas & Related Families is quickly approaching July 26-28 in Thomas, W.Va. So far, it looks like we will have a decent turn out with about 40-50 attendees, but the more the merrier! Even if you decide at the last minute you’d like to join us, come on down, over or up! There’s always room for one more!

I am delighted to report that cousins from the Felix DiPaolo family will be joining us too! Felix’s oldest surviving granddaughter (at age 85) and her two daughters are flying to Washington, D.C., and then driving to the reunion. They will be bringing lots of info with them about Joe DePollo’s long-lost brother and their families, so it should be a lot of fun to get acquainted with them and hear about their lives. For those of you who may not be in the loop, the family connection was discovered through an  genetic test earlier this year. Various other family members have also authenticated the connection through 23&Me, so we now have new “cugini” to celebrate with! We will be prepared to give them a real Tucker County welcome!

As in the past, we will get together in the library of the Blackwater Falls State Park on Friday evening about 7:30 pm. On Saturday morning, we can walk the streets of Thomas to see what’s new or visit the local cemeteries as desired.  Official festivities start at noon at the Knights of Columbus Pavilion on the road between Thomas and Davis. The Joe DePollo family is providing grilled hot dogs and Italian sausage, so bring a dish to share, and we will feast for the day! Some drinks, water and paper products will also be provided.

Unfortunately, the Purple Fiddle was booked for the weekend, so the DePollo Brothers will not be providing their annual concert in the old store. But we may be able to get one or both to bring their accordions to the picnic. Of course, we have plenty of good family musicians, so if you play an instrument bring it along for our open stage. Also, if you have any family memorabilia or photos you’d like to display, we will have space to do that.

One important note:  cousin Loretta DePollo James tells us that her class from the former Mountaineer High School will hold its 50th reunion in the Davis area the same weekend. That may make hotel accommodations tight on the mountain, so don’t wait to book something if you haven’t already.

Hope all is well with all of you! Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!

Janice DePollo Lantz

P.S. – Cousin Deb DePollo has suggested that we make a family cookbook. If you would be interested in participating, bring a few of your family favorite recipes and we can see if there is enough interest in doing one. We could possibly put it together over the winter and have it for the 2020 reunion!

P.S.S. – I had trouble with the email distribution, so I did this by family. If I missed someone, please share!

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Mark DePollo had a Birthday

Mark turned over another year! He said he wanted to “give” rather than “receive” so he threw a party for his family and friends. He put together a concert with the help of his son Anthony. He declared it to be the “DiPaolo Meadows Concert Series” featuring Anthony and the band “The Shells”.

Family and friends were made aware of the concert party via open invitations on Facebook and word of mouth. Mark’s son Alex provided different types of beer that he custom brews for the “Draught Horse” pub. Heather prepared pulled pork sandwiches and many other wonderful eats.

The video below is a compilation of photos and videos that many in attendance recorded and published online.

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Jennifer (DePollo) Horn Wins Award

Olive Craig Gallery announces Annual Exhibition awards

Sault farrier Jennifer Horn is the winner of the $300 first place award in Olive Craig Gallery’s Annual Exhibition. Horn is the owner of Daisy Hill Forge on South Riverside Drive; in addition to forging horseshoes she forges objects of wrought iron, including the beautiful glass topped table that won the award.

Jennifer Horn’s hand forged table
Jennifer Horn taught the students how to build an end table with round pass-throughs, wraps, square corners, forge welds, and other traditional metalworking techniques.

Jennifer Horn recently taught a class at Tunnel Mill Blacksmith Shop in Spring Valley, Minnesota where 10 students each learned to build their own tables. The weekend of June 22nd she will give a demonstration on forging the components of a hand forged table lamp. Elements of the lamp include Dogwood flowers and leaves and artistic scrolls. The demonstration will take place for the Shenandoah Valley Blacksmith Guild at Bill Fox’s Blacksmith Shop located at 4263 East Side Highway, Grottoes, Virginia 24441 

Shenandoah Valley Blacksmith Guild demonstration featuring Jennifer Horn – June 22, 2019If you are near Grottoes, VA stop in and see Jennifer!

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Appalachian Forest Discovery Center Museum

This Post is to let you know that the Appalachian Forest Discovery Center Museum has a new exhibit with a nice little section on the DePollo Store.

It’s located right as you enter the door of the museum. Sarah , the lady who put the exhibit together, borrowed a few artifacts from the Purple Fiddle. We provided her with a brief write-up on the history of the family journey from Italy to Appalachia.

If any of you are able to visit Elkins, WV anytime from now until October (Thursdays thru Sundays) drop-in to the Appalachian Forest Discovery Center museum where the exhibit is on display.

The Appalachian Forest Discovery Center is open to the public Thursday through Sunday, 9:30 am to 5 pm, from May through October, or by appointment. Admission is free; donations are appreciated. Contact them at or call 304-637-6182.

The museum is located on the first floor of the Darden Mill, #2 Railroad Ave., Elkins, West Virginia 26241 one block south of the Elkins Depot in downtown Elkins, at the intersection of Railroad Ave and First Street. The GPS coordinates are: 38.9233465 and -79.8532057.

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