Ronnie GianniniSeptember 18, 1950 ~ January 6, 2018 (age 67)
At the age of 67 years old on January 6th, 2018, he took his final breath and an angel was called to heaven up above. His favorite song, ShaBoom, played on the radio and it was Eastern Orthodox Christmas Eve. His parents, Aldo and Amelia (Lapcevich) Giannini and his little brother, Aldo Jr., preceded him in death and welcomed their son and a brother, as a gift on this Christmas Eve, in the form of an angel. His parents were not told right away of Ronnie’s special gift, Down’s Syndrome. They were told that he would probably not walk in his life time or live past the age of 20. His parents were determined that he would walk and he would outlive them. His father carried Ronnie on his shoulders until the long hours of physical therapy and loving encouragement worked at the age of 9. He did walk; it was an extraordinarily happy day. He outlived the doctor’s expectations by 47 years and by his parent’s wishes, outlived them both by several years.
Ronnie loved swinging at the playground, home or park for hours. In fact, he wore the ground bare underneath from hours of fun. He loved going to the beach and pools to swim; he loved water. He loved to laugh and had a smile that would warm anyone’s heart. He also had a playful side. He loved to play pranks on his Grandfather, whom he adored, Ernesto Giannini, (also predeced) who lived with Ronnie and the family for many years. He adored the 50’s with Yogi Bear and Popeye Punching Bags, Dick Clark's Bandstand and snacks watching the Three Stooges. He loved the 1950’s and 60’s music. ShaBoom was his theme song. He taught the song to the family and sang it along with them, “Life Could Be A Dream, Sweetheart, ShaBoom, ShaBoom, Take Me Up To Paradise Up Above.”
His parents were part of the Western Center Parent’s Group and very active in advocating for many services needed by the Western Center community. His father spent many hours writing letters, taking notes for the board, and advocating on the Parent’s behalf. Ronnie’s mom loved dressing him to the nines. They took him to many theme parks, he loved to ride the rides. He loved to rock back ’n forth to the music no matter where he saw or heard it. He loved his rocking horse, colored Christmas lights and sled riding and building snowman with his parents, sister and grandfather. Ronnie loved life and riding for hours in the car. His parents and grandfather took him across the United States to California, Arizona, and Mexico. He was triple jointed and could easily confirm into a pretzel shape with legs behind his head or folded in half. He loved to eat, particularly, Serbian and Italian food. He loved his mom and aunts homemade food like stuffed cabbage, cookies, any kind of pasta, pizza, wedding soup, ice cream, bananas and milk shakes.
He is also preceded in death by others who loved and spent time, many uncles, cousins, friends, former staff, school, neighbors and roommates. He is survived by all of those special individuals at The Barber National Institute both Erie and Pittsburgh locations, his sister and brother-in-law, Kim (Giannini) and John Jae Bogesdorfer and many cousins, friends and relatives that knew and loved him through time spent, visits or events and stories shared.
Ronnie became a part of The Barber Center Day and Group Home Program upon the closing of Western Center. The family resisted the change in the beginning days but was soon won over by all of the wonderful employees, workers, administrators, nurses, caregivers, day program and group home staff. They have become part of the fabric that makes up the family. No matter the situation, adversity, challenge they were faced with, they came through for the family. There is a circle of Barber Center staff (a caregiver trust if you will) that have become Ronnie’s family carrying for him day and night, through his good times and bad, through his health concerns, sickness and challenges and have championed through them every time. From Ronnie and his family, we are ever grateful and thankful that you took such wonderful care of him. For without these individuals, (and they know who they are), Ronnie and his family would have never been able to meet these challenges solely on their own. He would have never lived such a happy and fulfilled life. When in the hospital, they sent round the clock care, they keep impeccable notes and stats on his health, meds and therapies, his likes and dislikes. Ronnie (Gigi) loved them with every single piece of his heart. He looks down on all of you now, standing beside his Mother, his Father, His Little Brother, His Grandparents and all who are with him now and says with the biggest smile, "Thank you. . I love you even more.”
Friends and family received at the Alfieri Funeral Home, 201 Marguerite Avenue, Wilmerding PA 15148. (412) 824-4332 or firstname.lastname@example.org on Wednesday, January 10 from 2-8 p.m. With service at 10 a.m. Thursday, January 11 with the Very Rev. George Veselinovic followed internment by Grandview Cemetery. If desired and in lieu of flowers, family asks that donations be made to The Barber National Institute, 20 Emerson Lane, #905, Bridgeville PA 15017. (412) 220-6030. Email: BNIpbgh@Barberinstitute.org.