Dennis Paul Salerno

November 18, 1950 ~ September 24, 2022 (age 71) 71 Years Old
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Dennis Paul Salerno, 71, of Prun di Valpolicella, Italy and Naples, Florida passed on Saturday September 24, 2022 at Trumbull Regional Medical Center in Warren after a devastating sudden onset and vicious battle with sinus cancer. 
Dennis was born November 18, 1950 in Youngstown, Ohio the son of Frank and Loretta DeMathews Salerno who were lifelong Niles residents. He was a 1968 graduate of Niles McKinley where he lettered in football. He went on to Ohio State University  where after a Bachelors in Spanish in 1972 , he earned a Masters Degree in Italian Literature in 1974 teaching Italian Language at the university as he pursued that degree. In 1975  he joined The United States Army and finished a 25 year career retiring in 2000. During this career he was stationed in numerous places in The United States as well as three assignments in Italy and one in Turkey.
During that time he participated in three wars as well as multiple peacekeeping/peace enforcement operations. Most notably were Desert Storm in 1991, Bosnia in 1995 and Kosovo in 1998. 
In Desert Storm he was the communications operations officer for the 101’st Airborne Division where he planned, executed, and participated in the communications system that propelled the division on the air and ground assault into Iraq earning him the Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious service while engaged in combat operations against an enemy of The United States. In Bosnia he was Chief of NATO Communications Operations and Plans where he designed, resourced, and implemented all communications for NATO in the Balkans, repeating the task for Kosovo. Retiring from the military in 2000, Dennis opted to accept a NATO civilian job as Chief Satellite Communications Engineer in Verona, Italy instead of promotions to Colonel. Here he oversaw a 74 million project to expand the site and enhance NATO communications throughout the Alliance.
 He and his wife purchased homes in the Valpolicella wine region in the hills north of Verona. He again retired in 2016 and together with his wife and many friends continued to pursue all their hobbies; travel, exploring foreign cultures, wineries, food, museums, and local customs. No one knew the history, food and drink or culture of Italy like Dennis. He often led groups  to visit wineries, restaurants and museums. If you names the town he would tell you where to eat, what to eat, what to see, and where to stay. He was a true Gourmand or “Buongustaio” in Italian and taught many Italians and Americans about the finer things of Italian food and wine. Additionally Dennis was a big game hunter. He had numerous trophies from Europe, as well as South Africa where he even scored a Cape Buffalo. He always followed ethical hunting principals never taking endangered or stressed animals.
He will be truly missed by his wife of 47 years Patricia “Patty” Holmes Salerno, a true army wife, who loyally followed him to every assignment and while there contributed significantly to the morale and welfare of the military community through community involvement and dedicated teaching in the U.S. Department of Defense School System where she was selected Teacher of The Year in 2006. They were a great pair and shared their passion for life and a deep love for each other.
He will also be missed by his sister Celeste Falter and her husband Randy, their children Kristi Vitelli and her husband Eric and Matthew Falter and his wife Kim , brother-in-law Robert Holmes and his wife Miriam and their children; Melissa Christiansen and her husband Ryan, Sarah Wunderlich and her husband Wes, and David Holmes; great nieces and nephews, Cameron and Cailynn Vitelli, Keira and Soren Christensen, Oscar Wunderlich, and Becca and Rachelle Calvin, cousins David and Michael DeMathews, Bobby Salerno and his wife Kathleen, all of the Venettis, Frank Cannell and his wife Patty, Rich Corea and his wife Linda and many other cousins. 
Furthermore he will be missed by literally thousands of people throughout the world, many in Italy, Eastern Europe, and every state in The USA. He believed in American core values of freedom, rugged individualism and liberty, but also espounded the importance of multinational engagement and fostering relationships world-wide.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10AM Saturday at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Niles where Dennis will be honored for his military service by The Trumbull County American Legion Honor Guard.
Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery.
Material contributions can be sent to The Wounded Warrior Project, 600 River Ave, Suite 400, Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania, 15212.
Arrangements are being handled by The Joseph Rossi and Sons Funeral Home in Niles.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dennis Paul Salerno, please visit our floral store.


Mass of Christian Burial
October 1, 2022

10:00 AM
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Niles


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