Postal worker prominent in state bowling circuit
By Kim Leonard
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Michael Caroccia was well-known as a mail carrier in East Pittsburgh, but bowling was his true passion.
He toured with one of the nation's top bowling teams in the 1960s and 1970s, and later certified bowling lanes and bowlers' high scores in the Pittsburgh area. The sport “was a part of him,” said his son, Michael Caroccia Jr. of North Huntingdon.
Michael J. Caroccia of East Pittsburgh, a renowned Western Pennsylvania bowler, longtime postal worker and World War II veteran, died on Thursday, June 21, 2012. He was 85.
Mr. Caroccia began working as a pin boy at 15 in the former Terrace Recreation Center in East Pittsburgh and soon became a skilled bowler.
After graduating from East Pittsburgh High School, he served in the Navy and at one point was stationed at Pearl Harbor, his son said.
He married Jennie F. Tomaro, who lived across the street from a relative's home in Millvale, in 1951. He worked at the post office in East Pittsburgh for 35 years, delivering mail on foot and driving a mail truck during his tenure.
“He enjoyed interacting with people, and everyone knew him,” his son said.
Mr. Caroccia worked part time at the Terrace lanes and was recruited to bowl on the renowned All-Air Products team. He traveled with the team to matches and tournaments and was the last surviving original member.
He bowled two perfect 300 games that were sanctioned, or certified, and his career average was higher than 200. Mr. Caroccia bowled with his wife in a couples league and with friends, and taught his son to bowl.
While he and his sister, Nancy, were growing up, “from May through the summer, Dad was off on weekends bowling,” said Michael Caroccia, who spent time with his father at the Terrace lanes starting at 2.
“He always welcomed everyone with a smile and would do anything for them,” he said.
After retiring from the postal service in about 1990, Mr. Caroccia became secretary/treasurer of the Greater Pittsburgh Ten Pin Bowling Association in Turtle Creek, which checks that local lanes meet standards and tracks top bowlers' achievements.
He worked daily, certifying lanes and handling other business for the association, until his death.
Mr. Caroccia was a past association president and Hall of Fame member, was elected president of the Pennsylvania State Bowling Association in 2004 and was named to its Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, East Boros Chapter, in 2009.
In addition to his son, Michael, Mr. Caroccia is survived by his wife, Jennie, and daughter, Nancy Moucheron of the South Side; a sister, Sister Nancy Caroccia; two grandchildren; two stepgrandchildren; and four stepgreat-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Patsy Caroccia.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. today in Good Shepherd Church, Braddock. Interment with military honors will follow in Braddock Catholic Cemetery.
Kim Leonard is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5606 or kleonard@ tribweb.com.
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