Al passed away peacefully on March 2, 2013, in Santa Barbara, CA, surrounded by his loving family; he was 86. The cause of death was kidney failure, though he
lived a long and active life with congestive heart failure, inspiring us with
his optimism and a vitality that shined brightly to the end. He lived in Santa
Clarita for 51 years, moving to the Maravilla Retirement Community in Santa
Barbara, CA, in 2009 to be near family.
Al graduated from Central High School in Newark, N.J. in 1944. A football scholarship to the University of Nevada provided opportunities for a better life out West. He earned a B.A. in History from the University of Nevada in 1951, and a M.A. in Education in 1955 from Columbia University in New York. Al was a WWII veteran, serving as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne division in Fort Benning, Georgia.
He was an educational icon and active community servant in what was then known as Saugus, CA, later renamed Santa Clarita. Al was the educational and curricular visionary for the Saugus Union School District, where he was employed for 51 years as an instructional aide, teacher, Principal, Assistant Superintendent, and School Board Member. Al never tired of inspiring students to learn and celebrating their achievements. He took great pride in preparing them to succeed, both in the classroom and in life.
Al was deeply devoted to his family and many lifelong friends. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marilyn, and their five children, Albert (Linda), Rosanne Spencer (Gordon), Valarie Kahoun (Ken), Mark (Stacey), and Teresa Calderon (Steve); two sisters, Faye Serino and Philomena McLeod, both of New Jersey; 11 grandchildren, Noel Nocciolo, Andrew Spencer, Philip Spencer, Natalie Spencer, Mathew Spencer, Brittney Finnegan (Patrick), Erin Spong (Nicholas), Katie Kahoun, Tessa Kahoun, Corinne Calderon, Chase Calderon; and five great-grandchildren: Mackenna Kaats, Hudson Steinbrunner, Miles Steinbrunner, Gracelyn Spong, and Valentina Spong, and many nieces and nephews.
Al was born in Newark, NJ, to Italian immigrant parents, Gerard and Rosina Nocciolo. He was preceded in death by his parents and his four brothers, Rocco, Gerardo, Anthony, and Ernie. He maintained close relationships with his two sisters on the east coast, talking to them weekly by phone to stay up on their lives and family activities. And he was richly blessed with many enduring and important friendships, some from his high school and college days.
Dad’s wisdom, humor, friendship, and warmth will be greatly missed. He was our treasure.
A “Celebration of Life” will be held for friends and family on Sunday, March 24, 2013, 11:00am-2:00pm at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, located just beyond the Old Mission, at 2559 Puesta del Sol, in Santa Barbara, CA.