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Coda - Final Notes and Obituaries for Jim Misitano's Parents and Siblings

(Obituaries edited to remove names of grandchildren of Jim's parents)

Vincent James (Jim/Jimmy) Misitano
  • Birth: April 2, 1923
  • Death: May 30, 2003
  • Marriage: December 8, 1949, to Lois Morrison
  • Military Service: February 3, 1943 to January 26, 1945

Obituary in Altoona Mirror, June 2, 2003

Vincent J. Misitano, 80, of Box 55B, Altoona RD4, died Friday morning, May 30, 2003, at his residence.

He was born April 2, 1923, in Altoona, son of the late Francis and Frances (Mollica) Misitano. He was the husband of Lois E. Morrison, whom he married December 8, 1949, in Altoona. Mr. Misitano retired in 1995 as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, Altoona, with 40 years of service.

He served in World War II as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. He received the Purple Heart for injuries received in battle during the Italy campaign. Mr. Misitano was a 1946 graduate of Altoona High School and enjoyed gardening and winemaking.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by four sons; a brother, Thomas C. Misitano of Altoona; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Frank Misitano.

Son Jim Jr.'s Final Notes

A Honeymooner's Scheme that Inadvertently Worked

There are enough simiarities between my dad's ambitions and those of Ralph Cramden of the Homeymooner's TV show from the 50's that I thought the following story was worthwhile.

Dad worked his Postal Service job for his regular income, but he was always searching for ways to expand upon that. I've already mentioned above his buying of older houses and converting and upgrading them for rental purposes, his construction and operation of Misitano's Dairy Store, and his opening of Misti Tavern, all of which provided modest but unspectacular returns.

At about the same time as Misti Tavern (mid 1960's), he bought 11 acres of undeveloped land near the newly opening Prince Gallitzin State park, an area where a new dam had created a lake promising recreational activities for visitors. This was about 15 miles North of Altoona. He named it "Misti Acres," of course. Dad had multiple possibilities in mind for the property, including:

  • A nice location for Sunday family picnics in the woods
  • A good place for hunting deer in season
  • A possibility of becoming a real estate windfall should the area explode in popularity due to the new state park
  • A Christmas Tree Farm.

We did in fact enjoy many picnics on the property, and would occasionally have unsuccessful deer-hunting escapades there. We also made a valiant attempt at a Christmas Tree farm, planting 1,000 fir seedlings one busy weekend, then giving up on them as they eventually turned into a lovely forest. The real estate value of the land never did appreciate in a meaninful way.

When I would visit home on holidays in the 70's and 80's, dad often had an idea that he had sent some money to an "Invention Submission" service for. The ideas were not bad per se, but then neither were Ralph Cramden's. One that I recall was a "Pill Opener," which was a modified hole punch that made it easy to pop a pill out of those impossibly difficult plastic strips of pills that are meant to be child-proof but end up being everybody-proof. His mockup worked well, but the report from the "Invention Submission" outfit made it clear that there were dozens of similar-to-identical patents existing for the same kind of appliance. The nice folks at "Invention Submission" were optimistic, however, that dad's idea was worth pursuing further, and would be happy to do so for a few thousand dollars more. Luckily, his sons were able to dissuade him from sending them any further funds.

Then, out of the blue, he received a communication in the early 1980's from a coal company that wanted to mine a seam of coal that lay about 20 feet below the surface of Misti Acres. They would do this by removing the top layer of soil, extracting the coal, and returning the topsoil and landscaping the area to a condition better than when they started. Dad accepted this proposal, and while it didn't make him rich, it did indeed make my parents' later years considerably more worry-free financially, and gained him something like a 10,000 percent return on his original investment in the land. Ralph Cramden never had it so good.


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