Caro Persico, longtime pizza shop owner, mourned

DOWNEY - Caro Persico was born Jan. 1, 1931 in Carmanico Terme, Abruzzi, Italy. He was the third of four sons to parents Amico and Emilia Persico.At age 4, his father passed away leaving four sons under age 12. Caro and his family were very poor, often not having enough food to feed the family. Caro met his future wife, Lucia Carestia, in his town. They often worked together in the fields and walked many miles to collect wood and salt that Caro would trade with other townspeople for flour and oil. At age 18, Caro traveled three months on a ship to Buenos Aires, Argentina where he rented a room from Lucia's family. He drove a bus and was very proud of his impeccable driving record and the thousands of miles he drove with his partner every year. It was in Buenos Aires where Lucia and Caro began their love affair. In 1961, after learning from his brother, Giovanni Persico, that Downey, Calif., was the greatest city in the world, he decided to move to Downey. He worked for his brother and sister-in-law, Giovanni and Pina Persico, at their restaurant, Pina's Pizza House. In 1962, Caro returned to Buenos Aires where he proposed to Lucia. He convinced Lucia that she would love California, especially Downey. They made their home in Downey and never left. In 1965, Caro and Lucia realized their dream and opened Persico's Pizza. They rented their first location on Imperial Highway, then built their own restaurant in 1970 at 12216 Paramount Boulevard where Caro, Lucia, and son Mario worked. Caro was a Downey icon who could always be found rolling meatballs, preparing their delicious lasagna, and if timed just right…kids would walk out with little pieces of pizza dough, cookies and a few Italian "confetti" almonds from Persico's. Caro finally retired from the restaurant business in 2005. He continued to make his delicious Italian food for many friends and family including doctors, physical therapists, pharmacy friends, and other lucky people. Caro passed away Jan. 21, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Lucia Persico; son Mario (Kelly) Persico; stepson Rafaele (Josephine) Ciccodemarco; brother Alfredo (Penny) Persico; granddaughters Christina (Freddy) Reyes, Gianna Persico, Lucia (Rick) Hofmann, Annamaria (Sean) Gilliland and Lisa (Alex) Nichols; and great-grandchildren Stephanie (Carlos) Quesada, Connor, Carson, and Isabella Gilliland, Lucas Nichols, and Kaden Quesada; and nieces and nephews, Caro (Arlene) Persico, Mila Persico, Rinaldo Alberico, Johnny (Tina) Persico, Michael Persico, Angelo (Lori) Alberico, Gia (Damien) Alberico, Gina Persico, Doranna (John) Persico, Ariana Persico, Nicholas, Dominic, Leyla and Vincent.

********** Published: February 03, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 42