Mario Aldo Turra was born October 10, 1931 in Naples, Italy.
Mario's family included two sisters and eight brothers, Vitaliano, Gino, Pina, Toni, Nino, Enzo, Mimmo, Sandro, Armando and Rosetta. His early years growing up during World War II were filled with air raid sirens and bread lines.
As a young man after the war Mario, while riding a local bus, saw a young American woman and her mother board the bus with no seat available. Mario stood to give them his seat and introduced himself to Joann Stamps, who would later become his wife of 66 years.
After they were married, Mario and Joann moved to the United States where Mario would pursue his dream of becoming an American citizen. Over the years he achieved financial success as an entrepreneur and businessman. He wrote a book appropriately entitled "Mario" about his early years growing up in war-torn Italy, and it made the New York Times Best Seller list.
In the 1970's Mario penned a poem called “America The Beautiful" which, during our nation's bicentennial, was printed on the front page of major U.S. newspapers all across the country. For this written work, Mario received a nomination for a Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge award.
All of the achievements take second place to the birth of his daughters, Cindy and Pina. Mario was certain to raise his daughters with a clear understanding of his love for this country and for them to gain this pride for themselves. These few words cannot begin to scratch the surface of 87 years of accomplishments by this wonderful man.
Mario is survived by wife, Joann Turra; daughters, Cindy Gibbs and Pina Payne; grandchildren, Denver Payton and his wife Melissa, Drew Gibbs and his wife Jessica, Maria Driver and her husband Michael and Benji Gibbs and his wife Ashley; great-grandson, Hudson Payton.
At his home on Tommy Lee Cook Road in Palmetto, a statue of Lady Liberty stands near the road to declare his appreciation for his country. For some, this statue has become a directional landmark and for others a point of confusion or laughter for not understanding its significance; but, for our family it stands for a survivor, a dreamer, an author and a poet, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and a true American patriot, Mario Aldo Turra, who today, is a citizen of a new home.
The family received friends at the funeral home from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, October 26, 2018. The funeral was held at Higgins Hillcrest Chapel Funeral Home on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 2 p.m. Interment followed at Oak Hill Cemetery.