Dominick Presutti was a devoted husband of 73 years and a loving Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather. Dominick Harry Presutti was born on September 14, 1925 to Dominic and Theresa Pinto Presutti. Dom grew up with fireworks in his blood along with the Washington Street gang who nicknamed him “Buzz”. After graduation from Bellaire High School, he was drafted into the service at the age of 18 and enlisted in the US Navy. Dom was assigned to the Destroyer USS Hyman DD732 and spent several years sailing the Pacific Ocean. He witnessed the historical raising of the flag at Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima! While patrolling the area, his ship was attacked by Japanese Kamikaze planes which killed 11 and injured 40 American sailors. One of the highlights of Dom’s service was on September 11, 1945 (just three days before his 20th birthday), when his ship liberated the Island of Pohnpei in Micronesia, raised the American flag and declared the Japanese occupation over. In 1995, the Pohnpei government invited Dom and his wife, Clara, back to celebrate their 50th year of freedom from Japan. In 2010, Dom was honored as a Plank Owner for being a member of the Hyman’s first crew.
After discharge from the Navy, Dom followed the desires of his father, learning all there was to know about manufacturing and displaying fireworks and bombs made at the family-owned Ohio Fireworks Mfg. & Display Co. He became the secretary/treasurer and co-owner of the firm with his only brother, Veto.
On July 12, 1947, Dom married the love of his life, Clara Cicogna. They enjoyed ballroom dancing, playing bridge and pinochle, entertaining friends and family, traveling, and working at the Ohio Fireworks business. They raised four children: Terriann, Ronald, Michael and Carolyn. Despite the young family, Dom and Clara would pack up the car and drive to various states which had contracted with Ohio Fireworks for celebration displays. Dom would shoot the entire show himself while on the road, and soon became known for his signature feat as the “man who rode the fire bicycle,” a set piece made of wood and flares which he would set afire and then jump on its makeshift seat to ride across the field!
Dom was a member of the BPOE in Bellaire and worked his way to Exalted Ruler. He and Clara would frequently attend dances at the Bellaire Elks Club, often dressing in costumes for a sock hop or in matching costumes – like the Wizard of Oz lion and tinman or a Christmas tree and a dog for the Elks Halloween parties. Dom became the oldest member of the Ohio River Valley Elks #231 in Martins Ferry. Dom and Clara attended many antique auctions in the Ohio Valley. They became big collectors of Imperial Glass, and helped create the National Imperial Glass Museum.
Even though the fireworks business paid the bills, Dom still wanted to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a school teacher. The first class he took was Public Speaking at the Ohio University Branch Campus in St. Clairsville. That single course propelled him into becoming a full-time adult student. He graduated with his BS in Education in 1968 from Ohio University in Athens, while his three oldest children were attending high school. Dom became an elementary and middle school teacher in the Bellaire School System at Key Ridge, Indian Run, and Gravel Hill. Former students describe him as a “great teacher who kept the class in line” and he was “always kind…and had a soft spot for quiet kids like me.” His favorite subject to teach was math. Even during his later years at Good Shepherd Nursing Home, Dom could still manage numerical formulas.
Dom was an active member of St John’s Catholic Church in Bellaire, and practiced Christian principles throughout his life. Dom donated numerous college and high school scholarships, and gave his time and talents to the Bellaire community many times over, including for the annual Feast of The Assumption fireworks show.
Dom loved to reap bounty from the land, growing apples, peaches, plums, grapes, pears, and other garden items, and was particularly fond of tending his grape vines for wine making.
He retired from teaching in 1983, then he and Clara moved to Venice, Florida, where he continued his cultivation but this time with all citrus varieties. He returned to the Ohio Valley in 2017 and established residency at the Welty Home, attending daily Catholic Mass, saying the rosary, and playing bridge – along with his favorite weekly activity — attending Sunday family dinners.
Dom is survived by his wife of 73 years, Clara Presutti, of the Welty Home, Terriann Presutti Bonfini (Chris) of Bellaire, Ron Presutti (Dana) of St. Clairsville, Michael Presutti (Alicia) of Oviedo, Florida, and Carolyn Presutti Davison (Rick) of Vienna, Virginia.
He leaves behind eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The most recent baby of four months is named Dominic, after him.
Due to Covid restrictions and concern for the family, a family-only service will be held.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) or the Imperial Glass Museum by going to TMCFunding.com. Share your thoughts and memories with Dom’s family at www.bauknechtaltmeyer. com. Arrangements by Bauknecht-Altmeyer Funeral Homes & Crematory 441 37th Street. Bellaire, Ohio.