Raoul Pagin, 99, of West Chester, PA, passed away on October 30, 2022, surrounded by his family. Born in Venice, Italy in 1923, he was a son of the late Antonio and Giovanna (nee Vianello) Pagin. He emigrated to the United States at the age of eight.
Raoul was the loving husband of the late Louise (nee Giordano) Pagin; loving father of Carol Recupero (Frank) of West Chester, PA, Lisa Cammarota (Tom) of Media, PA, and Janet Chapman (the late Marshall) of Fairfax, VA; adoring grandfather of Michelle, Paul, Amy, Stefanie, Nathan and Alison; dear uncle of Gabrielle, Antonello, and Rita. He was predeceased by his granddaughter, Kristen, and his three brothers: Luciano, Natalino and Renzo. Toni Makowski of Chester Springs, a dear companion of 20 years, also mourns his passing.
Raoul graduated from Overbrook High School in 1941 and began his career at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. In 1942 during World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps where he became a gunnery instructor on B29 airplanes. After the war, he returned to his employment at the Navy Yard, and under the GI Bill, he attended Temple University where he studied mechanical engineering. In 1970, after holding numerous positions in the Naval Base Aviation Department, Raoul was sent to Washington D.C. at the request of Naval Air Systems Command. There he worked for 17 years as a Certified Manufacturing Engineer and Manager for Industrial Mobilization, overseeing the manufacture of aircraft carriers and airplanes for the U.S. Navy and ensuring that U.S. factories would change their manufacturing capacity as needed. Raoul retired in 1987 and was proud to have served in two branches of the Department of Defense.
Raoul was a well-known instructor of the Italian language, literature, and opera in the Philadelphia area. Having trained with Toastmasters International, he was a very able communicator. His humorous retelling of opera dramas enticed people to attend opera and to see the humanity as well as the music and theater surrounding each story. He was a past president of the James Parkinson Opera Foundation and a recipient of the Sons of Italy “Man of the Year” award. Raoul was also active in Il Circolo Italiano of the Main Line where he taught advanced Italian. In later years, Raoul undertook his most challenging project of all when he wrote an extensive book about his family’s genealogy, which was accepted into The Library of Congress.
For his distinguished professional career and for his devotion to Italian culture, Raoul received several awards from the Italian government and his native region, Veneto. The honorific of Cavaliere dell’Ordine for Meritorious Service to the Republic of Italy (2010) and recognition by the President of the Veneto region with the Lion of Venice Award (2000) were among the awards that he most prized.
Raoul will be greatly missed by family and friends, here and abroad.
Relatives and friends are invited to a Visitation 10:00 A.M. to 11 A.M. Thursday, November 10, 2022 at The Donohue Funeral Home, 1627 West Chester Pike, West Chester, PA 19382, followed by a Prayer Service at 11 A.M. Interment at SS Peter and Paul Cemetery, Springfield, PA.