Rosary at 6:30 pm.
Salvatore “Sam” Fichera passed away on February 18, 2018 surrounded by family, of complications arising from his multi-year struggle with myelodysplastic syndrome.
Sam was born in the small Sicilian fishing village of Aci Trezza on April 29, 1931, as the youngest of four children to the late Sebastiano & Josephine Fichera. From the beginning of his life, Sam was regaled and enthralled with his father’s accounts of his time working in the United States and the promise of opportunity that lie therein. After having endured the hardships of the Nazi occupation of Sicily on his father’s Aci Trezza farm, Sam left Sicily for the United States and never looked back.
Sam was the encapsulation of the quintessential American Dream of a bygone era. Arriving in this country, as a newly minted U.S. Citizen in 1948 at the age of seventeen, with no financial backing or English-speaking skills, Sam immediately went to work to better himself. He taught himself English and although his formal education may have only extended two years into high school, his intractable entrepreneurial spirit served to propel his aspirations forward. Sam’s first career was that of a fisherman – in the summers – captaining and working boats including: Oliva M, Little Flower, New Emma, Mary M., Frank Maceo, and Brigadiere Jr. Winters would see Sam taking jobs as a longshoreman; Falstaff Beer truck hand; High Grade Packing Company packer; cook and deckhand for Brown & Root’s earliest offshore oil rigs; and even short-order cook and handy-man at the Fort Travis Motel in Bolivar, TX.
Sam didn’t discriminate against any type of work. When opportunity arose, often by his own making, he seized it – no matter the obstacles in his way. Such was the case when Sam assumed ownership of an Exxon service station, even though he had no particularized knowledge in auto mechanics. Again, through his own grit and indominable will to succeed he learned the craft and turned a rundown business into a thriving one, while earning the respect and adoration of the community he served in the process. After nearly two decades as proprietor of his service station, Sam again took up the challenge of learning and succeeding in a new business when he acquired and revamped a foundered nightclub into the epitome of a coastal town gift shop. Sam proudly operated Fantasy Island Souvenirs for eighteen years before retiring. In his retirement, Sam especially relished spending time and teachable moments with his grandchildren, as well as putting his mechanically inclined talents to use on a litany of projects he devised over the years. Sam was an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, and was always trying to surpass his previous accomplishments.
The driving force and impetus behind Sam’s steadfast resolve to triumph was his family. Sam is survived by his wife of 64 years, Angelina; his three children – Sebastiano “Buster” Fichera, Alfio “Al” Fichera and wife Luann, and Josephine “Josie” Ford; six grandchildren – Salvatore “Sammy” Fichera, John Ford, Jr., Franci Fichera, Patricia “Patty” Fichera, Christopher Ford, and Frank Fichera; and many other cherished friends who will miss such a stalwart of Galveston’s Italian community.
Pallbearers will be Frank Fichera, R.A. Apffel, Alfio Arcidiacono, Giovanni D’Ambra, John Ford Sr. and Alfio Tropea
Sam’s family will receive visitors beginning at 5:00 pm, Friday, February 23, at Malloy & Son Funeral Home. A rosary and vigil service will begin at 6:30 pm, led by Deacon Sam Dell’Olio.
Funeral Mass will be 10:00 am, Saturday, February 24, at Malloy & Son Funeral Home with Deacon Sam Dell’Olio officiating. Entombment will follow at Calvary Catholic Cemetery.