1984

Michael Iannizzi

He was born Michael lannizzi in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn in the heart of the depression, 1932. Red Hook then was a poor, working class Italian area with a tough reputation. In the old days prior to the arrival of Michael's parents there were frequent reports that sailors from ships in the nearby docks were assaulted and robbed - and some cases of males under the "influence" were shanghaied from among the many bars that proliferated in the area. Michael's parents arrived from Calabria in 1910 domiciled in the illustrious community. His parents are still living, although the father is failing at the age of 88, but his mother at the age of 82 is active and well.

Michael's father worked as a laborer repairing they city's sewers and the mother did the housework. They were a typical Italian immigrant family. Michael's youth was not unusual for that neighborhood - the regular run of fist fights and a not too brilliant record of early scholarship, as well as a horse and wagon fruit peddling operation at the age of 11, and then ascended at the age of 14 to a hot-dog vendor in Prospect Park. Later he went to Brooklyn Automotive and was graduated at the age of 17. He began to work as a mechanic and became one of the neighborhood's prominent "zoot suiters". This career was interrupted by the U.S. Army where he served in the Ordinance Department of the First Infantry Division in the German occupation.

Michael has two brothers and one sister, Dominick is Chairman of the Board of a large electronics company in Long Island, Frank is the Cost Accountant for a large corporation in Atlanta, Georgia, and Elizabeth is a Ph.D. and Dean of Business Education at NYC Community College. And Michael as we all know is a success in his own right - from a lowly, automotive mechanic to a Fleet Supervisor of one of the biggest bakery fleets in the northeast. (Fink Baking).

Michael attributes his success to two persons, his father who insisted that "hard work never hurt anyone" and if anything is "worth doing - do it right!" and Maria, his wife, who tolerated Michael's screwball hours in running the bakery fleet - as well as his outside activities.

The lannizzi family exemplified again the progress many thousands of first generation Italians have made from near-poverty to affluence and significant accomplishments in American society. This writer is reminded of Gov. Mario Cuomo's eloquent address to the Democratic Convention that stressed the dynamism - and reminded us further of the enduring concept of the family where one helps the other willingly and freely in sickness and overcoming the many obstacles strewing the road to self-sufficiency. The success of the family is a monument to the immigrants that have blessed their children with these qualities.

Michael carries on this tradition within his own family, Maria, his wife, his three daughters, Christine, Nina and Lisa. The girls are married, and the grandchildren are beginning to proliferate the lannizzi household. This feeling of family extends itself to his workplace, the Lions Club and the Society of Fleet Supervisors. He is active in these organizations - and is sometimes volatile and blunt, but honest in his aims and cooperative in his endeavors. He succeeds in getting things done. And what may be most important, he cherishes the friendship of whomever he works with - or plays with.

As for our organization, Michael has already held and been elected to all the high offices. He could retire on his laurels, but he still pitches in and helps wherever he is needed. Michael truly loves this Society. It will now be up to others that will keep the Society flourishing.

He truly deserves our "Man of the Year".


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