WATERTOWN, NY — Gabriel “Al” Renzi, of Summit Village, formerly of 665 Burchard St., Watertown, died Sept. 2, 2020. He was 96 years old.
Gabriel graduated from Watertown High School in 1942 and was a member of the National Honor Society.
In 1943 he entered the U.S. Navy, and initially served with distinction in General Patton’s Third Army, during World War II seeing heavy combat in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany.
On Feb. 6, 1945, Gabriel captured five Nazi soldiers, without a weapon, in a harrowing account that was later illustrated by the Watertown Daily Times.
Gabriel was promoted from private to staff sergeant and became a squad leader in the 17th Airborne Division. In that role he became a glider pilot, a very dangerous job but a job he was proud to accept for is Country. After a crash landing behind enemy lines, he was captured and made a Prisoner of War by the German Army, until the end of World War II.
He was given the American Service Metal, European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the WWII Victory Medal and was Honorably discharged.
After the War, Gabriel enrolled in Syracuse University, where he obtained a bachelor’s of arts degree in geography, and later his master’s of arts, in geography.
He took a position, in Washington, DC with the Army Corp of Engineers as an Urban Planner and with the Department of Defense, as an Intelligence Research Specialist where he remained until 1965. He resigned and returned to Watertown to assist his family in their grocery store.
Gabriel was predeceased by his parents, John and Assunta Renzi, and a sister, Anna E. Renzi.
There will be no calling hours and the family will hold a private grave side ceremony.
Arrangements are with D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, Inc.
Online condolences may be made to www.dlcalarco.com