September 23, 2014

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Waushara County Fair Demo Derby

Peter A. Orlando Print E-mail

Aug. 11, 1928 - Oct. 29, 2013

Peter A. Orlando, 85, formerly of Wautoma, entered eternal life on Tuesday morning, Oct. 29, 2013 at his home in Franklin.

He was born Aug. 11, 1928 in Milwaukee, the first son of Antonino and Antonina Orlando. He married the former Patricia A. “Patsy” Koszewski, beginning a 62-year marriage.  She preceded him in death on Aug. 15, 2012.

Peter graduated from Lincoln High School, where  he played football and boxed in the Golden Gloves Novice Division.

Peter began playing the accordion at the age of 8 and, along with other friends, formed the Jolly Polkats band in 1945.  The Jolly Polkats played at live clubs throughout the Midwest and Canada, and recorded records for Capitol Records.  They also had a primetime live radio show each weeknight on WEXT radio in Milwaukee.

Peter and his Jolly Polkats partner, “Pizza” Frank Balistrieri, along with Joe Pappalardo, went on to form The Sicilian Sereneders band.  They played weddings, parties, and were a fixture at Festa Italiana in Milwaukee from its beginning in 1978.

In addition to being a musician, Peter owned and operated Orlando’s Restaurant on 47th & Vliet in Milwaukee and the Islander Lounge on Brown Deer Rd.  His son, Michael, bought the restaurant after Peter retired.

From 1978 to 2009 Peter and his son Tom, along with “Pizza” Frank Balistrieri and Bobby Cefalu hosted tours of Italy and Sicily as Adventure Sicily.  Travelers would be treated to music, food, tours and cooking schools while attending local Festas in Sicily.

Peter and Patsy bought a summer cottage on John’s Lake in 1967. For the next 20 years they spent summers with their children, enjoying fishing and gardening.  Peter and his family would fill his station wagon with all the Bailey and Mueller kids and attend the Wautoma 4th of July fireworks show, where he would lead the whole group in “Oooohs and Ahhhs” during the show.  In 1987, they retired to John’s Lake and remained there until 2010, when they returned to Milwaukee due to declining health.

During the 1970’s, Peter’s August birthday parties became a tradition, celebrated by dozens of Wautoma’s most noted citizens. The party always included a cake from Floyd Tschurwald’s bakery, a fly-over by Doc Young in his private plane, at least one gag gift that Bill Junek brought home from his job at the Mt. Morris Dump, and plenty of refreshments from Tilly Delaura.  Joining Pete and his accordion would be neighbors Dick Mueller on Violin and Ernie Wurm on guitar.

Peter is survived by four children: Michael (Karen) Orlando Gina Momich, Anthony (Connie) and Tom Orlando; four grandchildren: Angela (Greg) Jones, Peter (Renee) Orlando, Alex and Marc Momich; five great-grandchildren: Christina, Anna and Sophia Jones, Michael and Samuel Orlando.  He is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents, and his beloved brother, Robert “Ace” Orlando.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. at St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Milwaukee.  Visitation was held on Friday, Nov. 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Harder Funeral Home in Brookfield.

James T. Guardalabene of Harder Funeral Home in Brookfield assisted the family with arrangements,

The family wishes to thank Tim Aliji for his compassionate care.


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