Norman Thomas “Pep” Petrocine
Norman Thomas “Pep” Petrocine, an icon of the Greatest Generation, passed away on December 10, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona of heart failure, just 11 days short of his 90th birthday.
A pillar of the Estes Park, CO. community since 1947, Pep grew up in Peekskill, NY, attended Park College in Missouri. His education was interrupted by WWII. After Army Air Corp training in Yuma, AZ, Pep became a B-17 pilot, flying 35 combat missions out of England with the 8th Air Force. 1st/Lt. Petrocine was awarded the prestigious distinguished Flying Cross for one of these missions. Though he had kept a detailed diary during these missions, few of his lifelong friends knew of this honor.
Before going overseas with the AACorp during WWII, he married Cora “Coke” Altick on December 11, 1943. He attended Colorado University in Boulder under the GI Bill, earning a degree in business. He worked one summer after WWII for Cheley Camps Boys Trails End where his father-in-law, Ernie Altick, was one of the directors. Immediately after graduation he moved to Estes Park where he joined Jack Cheley and Altick in the purchase of Gooch Dry Goods store that had been part of Estes since 1914. From this partnership evolved Western Brands, Outdoor World and Rocky Mountain Connection, now the largest and among the oldest store fronts on Elkhorn Ave., the main street of Estes Park. Pep started in 1949 a very successful mail order business to smooth out the seasonality of the Estes Park businesses year. All of these businesses still exist and have been successfully managed by his son, Ernie, for the past 19 years.
The legacy of Pep Petrocine is an indelible part of Estes Park history having served as a Trustee on the Estes Park Town Board for 12 years, during this time representing the town in the establishment of the Platte River Power Authority, now furnishing electrical power to five towns on the northern Front Range. He worked hard on a sign code and the redesigning of Estes Park before and after the 1982 flood. He was on the planning commission 14 years and chairman after the flood. He was always interested in having a quality presentation for the town of Estes Park. Pep also served a term as president of the Estes Park Chamber of Commerce. He was also active with the local Boy Scouts. And, belong to the Order of the Arrow.
Bankers attempting to establish a second bank in Estes Park approached this business and community leader to be an initial investor and board member, thus Pep served on the board of directors of the First National Bank of Estes Park for the next 40 years.
Pep’s passion for golf brought him the honor of being the very first president of the Estes Park Men’s Golf Association. In the 1970s this passion was replaced by tennis. He excelled at both sports as he did in business. Back problems took him off the courts a few years ago and he had to again polish his ping-pong skills learned between bombing missions in WWII.
He played on the Estes Park Men’s Basketball team in the early 50s, competing with other Front Range teams. Having been a lifeguard in high school, he enjoyed swimming all his life.
The ever community minded and generous leader was a member of the Rotary Club of Estes Park for more than 50 years, where he also served on the board of directors. He was a one-time member of the E.P. Lions Club.
As a progressive businessman, he operated, possibly the first computer in Estes Park.
During and after the transition of the corporate management to son, Ernie, Pep started the first computer store in Estes Park repairing and teaching. He eventually convinced the Town of Estes Park to “computerize.”
Modesty, loving, trust, peace maker, even keeled, generous, life long learner, humorous all describe this officer, gentleman, entrepreneur who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Included are five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. He is predeceased by a daughter, Nancy, four brothers, one sister, parents, Sadie Carpinelli Petrocione and Anthony Petrocione. It was on a 1990s trip to their birthplace, Fontana Rosa, Italy, that it was discovered in hand written ledgers that the “O” had been dropped during immigration, changing Petrocione to Petrocine. The village of Fontana Rosa gave the Petrocines VIP treatment during the two-day visit.
Survivors include his children Linda Woolsey, Bonnie Hebert, and Ernie Petrocine, and younger sister, Rita Laoretti living in Florida.
Also mourning his loss is his wife of 25 years, Pat, of their home in Tucson, and stepdaughters and sons Kay LaBella, Kim Brown, Mark and Mike Manglesen also of Colorado.
Memorials can be sent to the 398th Bomb Group that includes surviving members of Pep’s combat B-17 crew,
C/O Allen Ostrom
6520 196th St. SW Apt. 387
Lynnwood WA. 98036-4555
A special request spoken by Pep, “Please tell all my friends how much I enjoyed their friendship. Thank them for enriching my life. Have an ice cream social for them perhaps on a Sunday afternoon.” Details for this will be provided at a future date.