Ocean Beach 07

Donald Romanelli

June 17, 1938 ~ January 3, 2022 (age 83)


Donald Romanelli, Sr., of St. Petersburg, FL and formerly of Utica, NY, passed away Monday, January 3, 2022, after a long illness.

Don was the son of the late Frank “Hottie” Romanelli and Angeline Mariana Romanelli. He grew up and spent most of his life in Utica NY, attending Mary Street Grade School and Proctor High School. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1960, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and a Minor in Painting. Don served his country, as a member of the US Army Reserves for 6 1/2 years, spending time stationed at Fort Dix, NJ and Fort Sam in Houston, TX.

On November 25, 1961, he was married to the former Elizabeth (Betsy) Robischon. He was proud to have lived to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this past year. A devout Catholic, Don was always active in his local parishes, most recently at St. John Vianney, in St. Pete Beach, FL.

Don was known for his passion, sense of humor, and creativity. His paintings and other artwork filled his homes and those of his extended family. In 1973, he founded Romanelli Communications, an advertising agency, in Clinton, NY and Boston, MA. The businesses, causes, and people he impacted through his work are far too numerous to list. However, he was most proud of his charitable work affecting lives through the Ride for Missing Children, and The United Way of Greater Utica, which awarded him the Real Hero Award. He also took great pride in the work he produced and the many great clients he helped to grow from the ground up.

Besides his beloved wife, Betsy; he is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Beth and Mark Hapanowicz of Clinton, NY; two sons and daughters-in-law, Donald Romanelli Jr. and Lisa Sandouk Romanelli of Prides Crossing, MA and Joe Romanelli and Susan Tran of Boston, MA; four grandchildren, Lawrence Hapanowicz and his wife, Laura, Elyssa Hapanowicz and her fiancé, Chris Broccoli, Sarah Romanelli, and Grace Romanelli; his sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Ed Petronio of St Petersburg, FL and their son, Christopher; multiple nieces, nephews, cousins, great-nieces, great-nephews, and godchildren. He was predeceased by his brothers-in-law, Leland Findlay and William Hameline, Jr.; his nephews, William Hameline, III and Peter Hameline; and his niece, Mary Findlay Fastabend.

In losing Don, we lost a fighter.
He left us, yes, but, not without a fight.
He did not go easy, but, easy going was not what Don was about.
He was a fighter who always punched above his weight.
He fought his illness for years and never stopped fighting, until the fight was done.

But, he was also a lover.
He loved his family, and never let them forget it.
He loved his friends and they all knew him as passionate, fiery, and a bit crazy. But, they all felt that love like a warm embrace, which he was known to readily give.
He loved baseball and bragged of his invitation to try out with the Phillies, his single-handed triple play, and the fact that he and his son, Don Jr., were the first father-son team to play for Adrean Post American Legion.
He loved his alma mater, SU, and bled orange throughout his life. His company still bears orange as their corporate color.
He loved creating artwork. And like many artists, he loved using water as his muse, whether it was Cape Cod, the St. Lawrence River, or the bay outside his lanai in Florida.
He loved creative perfection, almost as much as he hated mediocrity.
He loved his agency’s work. He expected his children, Beth and Joe, his granddaughter, Elyssa, and all the employees who joined him to love it too, and to cherish the opportunity entrusted to them.
He loved to see his legacy come to life, as a third generation joined the family business.
He loved life, but mostly, he loved his wife of 60 years, Betsy, who was truly the love of his life.

He would have loved your thoughts, prayers, and wishes - which have poured in so plentifully.

His Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, April 30th, 2022, at 11 a.m., at Mary, Mother of Our Savior Parish, 2222 Genesee St., Utica, NY. Private entombment will take place in Calvary Mausoleum.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the National Kidney Foundation at https://www.kidney.org/donation or St. John Vianney Church in St. Pete Beach, FL at https://www.stjohnsparish.org/

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald Romanelli, please visit our floral store.


Mass of Christian Burial
April 30, 2022

11:00 AM
Mary, Mother of our Savior Parish
2222 Genesee Street
Utica, NY 13502


National Kidney Foundation
Web: http://www.kidney.org

St. John Vianney Church
St. Petes Beach FL
Web: http://www.stjohnsparish.org

© 2022 Matt Funeral Service Inc. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility