Fortunato A. Pinto, also known as Fred, passed from this life on May 7, 2020, in the one hundredth year of his life. He came into this world with his twin brother Nicholas on September 26, 1920, sons of Maria (Coscia) and Francisco Pinto. Foruntato’s parents believed he would be the only twin to survive, the fortunate son. The twins stayed close until Nicky’s death 75 years later.
Born in Foggia Italy, Fortunato moved to Bridgeport, CT in 1929 as the family rejoined their father. Nicknamed Fred by his elementary school teachers, he would be a resident of Bridgeport well into his 80s. During his youth, he worked with his father in the family shoe repair shop on the east side of Bridgeport.
Fred began working at the General Electric plant on Bond street in Bridgeport in 1939. After World War II started he served in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. During the war, Fred moved from island to island in the Pacific, working to resupply naval vessels. His expertise at shoe repair served him well, as he was able to leverage that into bonus supplies from the officers. He loved pets, and adopted a monkey on Bora Bora. After the war Fred returned to “Generous” Electric, retiring after 46 years of service with the company.
After a chance encounter at a bowling alley Jacqueline Boerum introduced Fred to her dog Shaggy. Shaggy usually growled at her boyfriends but liked Fred immediately so Jackie took that as a good sign. The two married in 1952 and their loving union lasted 50 years. During that time they added a son David (1960) and a daughter Leah (1963) to the family, as well as dogs Pudgie and Duke, and a Siamese cat whose name was lost to history.
After retiring in 1985, Fortunato spent many years caring for his family. First he helped baby sit Leah’s children whom he affectionately referred to as “Jillian and the Other One.” When Jacqueline developed a congenital form of emphysema in 1990, Fred became her primary caregiver until Jackie’s death in 2003. He lived with his daughter in Trumbull until he lost the use of his legs in 2014, and the final six years of his life came at the Masonic Care home in Newtown, now Newtown Rehabilitation and Health Care Center. He was beloved by the staff, and the family thanks them for their years of excellent care.
Fred enjoyed baseball all his life, and at the end of his life may have been the oldest living person to attend Lou Gehrig day at Yankee Stadium. His last live major league game came at Fenway Park in the early 1990s. He sat behind home plate, a gift from sports writer Peter Gammons.
Dory Altmann summed up Fortunato's life beautifully:
"I remember your dad as a kind and down to earth man who asked for little and gave much. His name was appropriate, you were all lucky to have him in your lives."
He is survived by his son David Pinto and his wife Marilyn Pinto of Longmeadow Massachusetts, his daughter Leah Fernandes and her husband Ray Fernandes of Trumbull Connecticut, his granddaughter Jillian Deckard and her husband Matt Deckard of Locust Grove, Arkansas, his granddaughter “Lady” Melinda Pinto and her husband Scot Brownell of Boston, Massachusetts, his grandson Gregory Taylor, his wife Jessica Taylor, and their dog Bella of Seymour, Connecticut, his great grandson Jackson Duncan of Locust Grove, Arkansas, his sister-in-law Frances Elizeus of Monroe, Connecticut, and many beloved nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his four siblings, Sister Mary Philomena, Katherine Dogali, Nicholas Pinto, and Anthony Pinto, their spouses Jesus, Anthony Dogali, Frances Pinto, and Joyce Pinto, his brother-in-law Paul Elizeus, and his son-in-law Wallace Taylor. In addition, grand dogs Wolf, Scotch, Blitzen, Phoebe, and Chip.
A private burial will take place on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Trumbull, CT. A virtual wake in remembrance of Fortunato will be held on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 4 PM EDT.