Pasquale Mario "Pat" Ercolano, a retired produce manager, died Tuesday of pneumonia at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. He was 88.
Born in Rome and raised in Sorrento, Italy, Mr. Ercolano was educated in public schools.
As a teenager, he served as a steward on Italian merchant ships in the Mediterranean. With the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the Italian navy and served as a radio operator aboard submarines.
Wounded, he was taken prisoner by the British in 1943 after a sea battle between the Bronzo, an Italian submarine, and British minesweepers off the coast of Sicily, and spent the remainder of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp in Suez.
In 1950, he met and married Maria Concetta "Tina" Puglia, a native of New York City, and immigrated to Baltimore. He became a U.S. citizen five years later.
From 1950 to 1967, he was employed as produce manager of Union Food in Northeast Baltimore. He became produce manager at Harrington's Market in Ruxton, which later became Graul's, where he worked for 33 years until retiring in 2000.
"He was popular with his customers, in no small part because of his readiness to pass along recipes from his wife, a highly regarded cook, and to treat customers' children to bananas, grapes and other treats," said a son, Vincent Ercolano of Tuscany-Canterbury.
A resident of the Idlewood neighborhood of North Baltimore, Mr. Ercolano enjoyed ballroom dancing and gardening.
A world traveler, he had visited every continent except Australia.
Mr. Ercolano was a longtime communicant of St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Govans, and later joined St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Cockeysville.
He was a member of the Dulaney Lodge of the Sons of Italy in America and the Notre Dame Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Mr. Ercolano and his wife moved to Timonium in 1990. She died in 2009.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday at his church, 101 Church Lane, Cockeysville.
Also surviving are three other sons, Paul Ercolano of Phoenix, Baltimore County, Patrick Ercolano of Gaywood and Ronald Ercolano of Hampden; a brother, Salvatore Ercolano of Mays Chapel; and five grandchildren.