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Victor T. Raia

Dec. 28, 1920 – March 25, 2019

Victor T. “Vic” Raia, 98, Altoona, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday.

He was born in Altoona, son of the late Antonio and Rose (Pellegrino) Raia. On March 13, 1943, he married Santa M. Nardelli, and she preceded him in death on March 27, 2002. He then married Bertie Boito on June 24, 2005.

Surviving are his loving wife; a son, Anthony Raia of Pittsburgh; a daughter, Cynthia Colantuono of Daphne, Ala.; four grandchildren: Craig, Rhianna, Stephanie and Victoria; six great-grandchildren: Sidney, Megan, Rylee, Jiovanni, Oliver and Roman; one great-great-granddaughter, Scarlett; two stepchildren: Thomas and Anthony Boito; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by four sisters: Louise Bruno, Helen Branda, Frances Daversa and Josephine Cerro; and two brothers: Michael and Warren Raia.

He was a graduate of Altoona Catholic High School, where he played varsity football as a first-team quarterback. He retired as a welder from Conrail in 1980, where he was past president of T.W.U. AFL-CIO Local 2017 Union. He was a member and usher for St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

Vic joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was a veteran of WWII. He received many medals, including the Pres­i­dential Citation, American Theater, European Combat, Asiatic Pacific, Expeditionary and the WWII Victory Medal. Vic was very active in sports. He was a boxer and was the Atlantic Fleet Navy Champion. He pitched fast pitch softball and won over 250 games with two no-hitters.

After his discharge, he helped organize the A&J IAIA American Legion Post and was commander twice. He was district and western vice commander and, in 1981, he was elected State Commander. He is the only member in the Altoona area to be elected as State Commander of the Penn­syl­vania American Legion and past commander of the Blair County War Veteran’s Council.

He was honored by President George Bush for his work on behalf of veterans and helping save the James VanZandt VA Hospital in Altoona. He helped bring the veteran’s home to the area and was a guardian for two veterans at the home.

He was a member of Altoona’s Jobs for Joes, raised funds for the PSU Altoona campus and organized the Altoona Area Notre Dame Club and Mountaineer Professional Football Team.

Vic was active in community affairs. He was a board member of the Blair County Society for crippled children and adults and he was awarded the “Brace for an Ace” for his efforts. He was a city coordinator for the March of Dimes and chairman for the President John F. Kennedy statue in Altoona. He was state chairman for the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C., and the state raised over $4 million. Vic was also a volunteer at the Altoona Hospital for many years.

Friends will be received from 6 to 9 p.m. today, March 28, 2019, at Santella Funeral Home, 1106 Eigth Ave., Altoona. A funeral service with full military honors will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, March 29, 2019, at the Axe and Santella Family Chapel, 1534 Fourth St., Altoona. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery.