Fiorello Casale, age 92, of Belen, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023.
He was born in Ventosa, Italy, in 1930 to Vincenzo Casale and Anna DiVello Casale.
Services will be held on Monday, Jan. 30, at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church. A viewing will take place at 9 a.m., with a Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Our Lady of Belen Memorial Gardens.
Fiorello is preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Arlene Vertullo Casale; son, Fiore (Rose Ann), of Los Lunas; daughter, Deborah Stoddard (Tim), of Florida; and grandsons, Garrick, Fiore Salvatore and Brenton.
Fiorello arrived in New York on June 21, 1947, where he lived as a teenager in the borough of Queens. He was drafted during the Korean conflict and served honorably in the United States Army from August 1951-1953 at Ft. Bliss, Texas, near El Paso. On weekends off, Fiorello sometimes drove up the Rio Grande Valley to Albuquerque and to the little town of Belen.
After two years, he returned to New York, where he eventually owned and operated as many as six restaurants. Fiorello met Arlene Vertullo at her grandparents’ home in Manhattan, N.Y., and were later married on Jan. 8, 1956. They had two children, Deborah and Fiore Anthony.
He became ill around 1980, and he began to search for a place to recover his health. Fiorello remembered a little town in the Rio Grande Valley from his Army days. He liked Belen because of its friendly people and mild climate, which reminded him of his native village in Italy.
The couple decided to settle in Rio Communities in 1981. Fiorello’s health improved and the family built and opened Fiorello’s Restaurant on East River Road in September 1984. Fiorello and Fiore did the cooking, while Arlene greeted customers and ran the dining room.
After more than 30 years of running a successful restaurant, his health forced him to retire at age 85.
Please sign Fiorello’s online tribute at romerofuneralhomenm.com. Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen.
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