Felix Cistolo was drafted in 1942 and assigned to the 80th Infantry Division. He arrived in France on Aug. 4, 1944, and was sent immediately into combat at Falaise Gap, where the Allies killed 10,000 German troops and trapped another 50,000, although some 20,000 Germans troops managed to escape to fight another day. He was wounded by artillery shrapnel at St. Genevieve on Sept. 13, 1944, nearly losing his right leg, and spent almost three months in the hospital in England. He was released in time to rejoin his outfit for the Battle of the Bulge, where he suffered frozen feet and what he calls a “slight wound that didn’t amount to anything.” After two more months in the hospital, he returned to his unit for the end of the war.
As part of Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh’s celebration of National Day of Listening 2012, we recorded Felix Cistolo of Ellwood City, PA talking with his grandsons Aaron and Adam Nye about his military service in the US Army during WW II, including the Battle of the Bulge and being wounded. The recording took place in November 2012 in the Heinz History Center.
Mr. Felix J. Cistolo, 92 of 111 Franklin Ave., Ellwood City, Pennsylvania passed away on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 in the Northview Estates at 9:00 am. Mr. Cistolo was born in Italy on June 27, 1921 to the late Carmine R. and Elvira Rotolo Cistolo. Felix is a member of the Lincoln High School class of 1941. Following his graduation he briefly worked for the Greyhound Bus Lines in Cleveland, OH.
On July 16, 1942 Felix enlisted with the U.S. Army and served with the Company G. 317th Infantry as a rifleman with the rank of Private First Class until his discharge on October 20, 1945. He fought in the Battles of the Bulge, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. He was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and four Battle Bronze Stars. He was a proud veteran and belonged to the V.F.W., American Legion, the 80-th Division Veterans Association life member and served as their commander from 1974 to 1975, the Disabled American Veterans Lawrence County Chapter 112 and the National D.A.V., Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, past Commander of the Beaver Valley Battle of the Bulge #30, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the National Infantry Association. On June 6, 1975 Felix helped unvail a memorial honoring his 80th Division in Heiderscheid, Luxenburg. And, on November 9, 2009 he received the Knight in the Legion of Honor Medal from the French Government. He also served as the Chairman of the Ellwood City Memorial Day Parade for ten years.
Following his service with the Army, Felix worked at the U.S. Steel plant in Ellwood City from 1947 until 1956 as a clerk. He then worked for the United States Postal Service in Ellwood City as a clerk for thirty years.
Felix is a member of the Holy Redeemer Parish, and the Holy Redeemer Holy Name Society. He served as a money counter, usher, and greeter at the church. He is a member of the Sons of Italy #608 and served as the financial secretary of the club for 32 years.
Mr. Cistolo is survived by his two daughters and sons-in-law, Esther (Ken) Shoaf of Franklin Twp., Angela (Tim) Tomko of Wampum, his two sons and daughters-in-law, Robert (Linda) Cistolo of Berea, Ohio, Edward Cistolo and Marie Knapp of Economy Boro, his grandchildren, Michael (Lisa) Cistolo, Joseph (Lisa) Cistolo, Mary Beth Cistolo, Joshua Markvan, Jonathan (Jaya) Markvan, Jennifer Shoaf, Ken (Valarie) Shoaf, Aaron (Kimberly) Nye, Adam Nye, Timothy Tomko, & Sara Tomko, and his great grandchildren, Anthony, Nathan, Brody, Lena, Alexandria, & Katrina Cistolo, Ava Markvan, Kaysen, & Paisley Conver, Brooke Cooper, Anika, & Zane Shoaf, Abigail, Logan, & Mackenzie Nye. He is also survived by his sister, Gilda Santillo of Beaver, and his brother, Fred Cistolo of New Castle.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Rose M. Squicquero Cistolo whom he married on November 22, 1947 and passed away on July 6, 2008, his two sisters, Eleanor Cistolo in infancy, & Lucy McClurg, and his two brothers, Felix Cistolo in infancy, & Albert Cistolo.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday in the Holy Redeemer Church with Father Mark Thomas officiating. Interment will be at the Holy Redeemer Cemetery. Members of the Veterans Honor Guard are asked to meet at the church to conduct full military honors.
Memorials contributions in Mr. Cistolo’s name may be made to the Holy Redeemer Social Services.