Peter Anthony “Pete” Puglia transitioned peacefully to his eternal resting place at home in Miramar Beach, Florida, on April 25th, 2020, at the age of 92. He is survived by his soulmate of 35 years, Marlene Rollenhagen Weller, three children form a previous marriage, John, Frank (Shea) and Jacquelyn “Jackie” (Ellen) and a step-daughter Karen Weller (Jo). He is also survived by his grandchildren Lauren, Nina, Liza, Francesca, step-grandson, Sean Michael Eppinette, great grandchildren Perrin and Preston and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. He is also survived by a loving group of Rollenhagens who knew and loved him as well. Peter is known by all of his family as being hard-working, loyal family man known for his big smile and the ease with which he made new friends. It was often said that Pete “never met a stranger”. He is preceded in death by his parents, father, John Baptiste Puglia, from Santa Christina Gela, Sicily and his mother Jacomina Radosta Puglia, from New Orleans, Louisiana and his best friend and brother, Joseph J. Pugllia. Pete was intelligent and goal-oriented. He graduated from Warren Eastern High School at age 16 and played clarinet in the band. After graduating, he enrolled at LSU and fell in love with the college. He was proud to play clarinet for the Marching Band of Tigerland. He would later tell stories of traveling to away games and living in the Stadium Dormitory as a member of the band. He was a passionate LSU Toger fan which was passed down through multiple generations. His dream was to graduate and teach American History. However, on his 18th birthday, he left college, feeling compelled to contribute to the end of WWII effort. All on the same day, he studied for, took and passed the Radio Officer Training Course and became a Ship Radio Officer in the Merchant Marines. After passing the exam, he went across the street, picked up his uniforms and got his ID card then walk down to Port of Orleans where he boarded the MV Emerald Knot heading to the South Pacific. During his time in the Merchant Marines he survived one of the three major typhoons in the South Pacific that not only took hundreds of lives but sunk hundreds of ships and aircraft aboard. He would later (at age 80) admit “it was the most frightened I’ve ever been”. After the war ended, he volunteered for another year in the Army and was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. He enjoyed it but his family told him of plans to open a small family grocery and they needed him to come home to help. In 1948 he returned to New Orleans and enrolled in Soule School of Business. He earned a degree completing classes in business, accounting and management that would give him the tools to help the family build and expand Puglia Quality Foods, located on 1100 N. Rampart, into wholesale-retail food business serving many of the best New Orleans restaurants from 1948-1984. After retiring, he moved to Miramar Beach, Florida and liked to play golf and travel. He was finally able to slow down and after a lifetime of 60 hours work weeks about which he never complained . He sacrificed so his children could have a better life. He will be greatly missed by family and friends who knew him. The family is grateful to a special caregiver, Jenny Stockard, for her kindness and compassion and who went above and beyond to make sure Pete and his family’s needs were cared for. They also give special thanks to Emerald Coast Hospice, especially his nurse Tracy and Dr. Zarate who helped keep him comfortable at home at the ened-of-life according to his wishes. Because of Coronavirus pandemic all funeral arrangements will be private. In lieu of flowers and in honor of Pete, please support your local businesses so they survive. Expressions of love and sympathy may be viewed and placed at www.mclaughlinmortuary.com.
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