Dominic Ornella
1922 - 2020
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Dominic Ornella was born to Rosa DiFilippo Ornella in San Daniele del Friuli (Province of Udine) Italy of February 23, 1922. He migrated to the United States in May 1932 and was adopted by his step-father, Giordano Ornella, and joined the family in Cincinnati that year. He received his elementary and secondary education in public and parochial schools in Cincinnati. Upon graduation from High School, he worked in Cincinnati until he entered the Military Service in November 1942, where he worked as a staff Sergeant in Military Intelligence. While stationed at Camp Ritchie Maryland, he met his wife-to-be, Jane Gerard of Durango. He vacationed in Durango in 1946 and moved in 1947 to attend Western State College in Gunnison. The couple was married at St. Columba Catholic Church on June 5, 1948. Jane graduated from Western State in 1948 and taught in the Gunnison schools while he completed his degree in 1951. They moved to Durango that spring and purchased what was to become their present home on the Florida Mesa. He sought and obtained work at the Vanadiium Corporation of America and thereafter became Ore Buyer, Purchasing Agent & Mines Auditor, and assistant to the General Manager. Upon closure of the mill in 1963, he and Jane returned to Western State and enrolled in its graduate program. Both received their master's degree in 1965. Mr. Ornella taught at Needham Elementary and became assistant principal at Durango High School in 1966 and principal at Florida Mesa/Sunnyside schools in 1972. He retired from the 9-R School District in 1983

Nic enjoyed fishing and camping with his family and friends. He loved to play golf and woodworking became one of his hobbies upon retirement. He was a member of Post 28, American Legion and a member of its "Goldenaires" Drum and Bugle Corps. He was a member of St. Columba Church and briefly served on its School Board. He loved baseball and grew up a fan of the Cincinnati Reds.

Dominic was preceded by his daughter, Patricia Ann Wong and his beloved wife of 58 years, Jane. He is survived by daughters Rose Marie Ornella of Durango and Alvetta Jane Pendleton of Waikoloa, Hawaii. Also surviving are his grandsons, Edward & Nickolas Clark and John & Jeffrey Starns and five great-grandchildren.

A private service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Fort Lewis College Alumni Association;

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Durango Herald on Feb. 3, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
March 20, 2020
Nick; the teacher, coach and principal influenced numerous young lives. His no nonsense style kept students on the straight and narrow path to success. My condolences to the family. Warm regards and thanks for the memories.
Bruce Heller
Bruce Heller
February 26, 2020
To our Cousins,

Uncle Nick was a great man of many admirable qualities for which he will long be remembered. It is our wish to keep in touch with you and your families. Our love and condolences are with you during this difficult time.

With love,

Mary Alice Denaro & Laura Goldberg
Mary Alice Denaro
February 10, 2020
Manny can remember their days at DHS as I sat in his office on several occasions, His words of wisdom still speak to me even today. His kindness and understanding of students shined as he walked the halls and listened to his students and faculty.
He later became my supervisor at Florida Mesa Elementary and I learned many things from his experiences over the years which I have used many times over in life. Rest in Peace my friend.
Robert Boyd
February 9, 2020
Mr. Ornella was my fifth grade teacher, and one of the very best teachers I had. He had worked with one of my uncles at the VCA a few years before that, and that formed a kind of bond between us from the start. He had high ideals, a big personality, and a clear passion for teaching. While he very much deserved his promotion to being an administrator, I think he missed the direct connection to students he had had as a teacher. He influenced a lot of lives. My deepest condolences to his family. Martin McKinney
Martin McKinney
February 3, 2020
Dear Rosie,
I just read your dad's obituary--I'm sorry I didn't have the opportunity to know him better but you are evidence of wonderful parents. Dean loved both of them and has great stories from their years as patients.
God bless you always but especially during this difficult time....98 years is a long life but it's still very sad to lose a parent.
Our love and prayers for you and all of your family,
Dean & Sandy Brown
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