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Carmelo Joseph Puiia, Jr.
RUMFORD -- Carmelo Joseph Puiia, Jr., 88, a resident of Rumford his entire life, passed away peacefully on January 24, 2011 at the Hospice House in Auburn.
Born in Rumford on October 21, 1922, he was the son of the late Carmelo and Rosaria (Laugelli) Puiia, Sr.
Carmelo worked his entire life serving others. He started working at his father’s shoe shop at the age of 5. At age 14, he learned the barbering trade in the back of Joe Penceiro’s bar.
Shortly after graduating from Stephens High School in Rumford with the Class of 1941, he was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve in World War II. He served with the 407th anti-aircraft artillery gun battalion, serving in England, France and Belgium.
Upon returning from Europe, he moved to Dixfield and opened his first barbershop. Shortly thereafter, he met Pauline Porter of Peru, who he married on June 30, 1948. Together, they raised eight children, were always there for their grandchildren, and extended their love to anyone who entered their home.
In 1952, he decided to pursue a dream of establishing the first successful cable television service in Maine.
He started franchises in Mexico, Rumford, and Dixfield and eventually expanded in the Augusta area and even wired cable TV into the Blaine House in 1963.
After selling his interest in State Cable, he returned to barbering full time in Rumford in 1971 at his Congress Street location. He was well known throughout the area for waving through the big plate glass window of his shop to all those who passed by until his retirement in December 2010.
Carmelo was a communicant of St. Athanasius-St. John Church in Rumford. He was also a member of Fr. Ambrose J. Barry Council #2091, K of C, Gorizia Lodge #467, Sons of Italy, Napoleon Ouellette Post #24 American Legion, Robert Shand Post #1641, VFW, Rumford and Dixfield Historical Societies.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Pauline of Rumford; sons, Joseph and his wife, Patti of Cornwall, PEI, Michael of Bunbury, PEI, Stephen and his wife, Carrie of Dixfield, Rocco of Rumford, Peter of Rumford, Mark of Saugus, MA; daughters, Paula Hall and her husband, Edward, of Dixfield, Patty Cobb and her husband, Andy of Embden; grandchildren, Damiano Puiia, Cara Mansour, Nana McDonald, Stephen Puiia, Kristen Thibodeau, Jessica Puiia, Nina Villnave, Lisa Puiia, Lee Ann Puiia, Gina Puiia, Christina Puiia, Dana Hall, Kayla Hodgkins; six great-grandchildren; and a sister, Rose Reed of Rumford.
He was predeceased by his parents; baby daughter, Carolyn; grandson, Derek Puiia; brothers, Nicholas and Tony; and a sister, Teresa Rania.