LaGreca, Anthony A. “Al” November 13, 1927 – August 25, 2014 Anthony Al LaGreca was born to Italian immigrants, John and Anna Paladino LaGreca, in 1927. His parents emigrated from Italy through Ellis Island in the early 1900s and came from the same small town on the Amalfi Coast. They married in New York City, had their first two children in Philadelphia, and finally settled in Omaha. He was the youngest of six living children, and the third son his mother named after St. Anthony, (the first two dying as infants.) He grew up on the western edge of Omahas Little Italy on 12th and Bancroft, and attended St. Patricks elementary school. His mother embraced the American culture and insisted the family speak only English in their home. After attending Central High School for his freshman year, he was recruited by Creighton Prep to play football and basketball. His older brother, Sam, was also an athlete at Prep, and the two boys were referred to as Big Zeke and Little Zeke. Al graduated from Creighton Prep in 1945 and followed his brother Sam to Tulsa University on a football scholarship where he earned the nickname Fleet-footed Zeke LaGreca for his running ability. Al graduated from Tulsa University in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and began his career at Union Pacific Railroad in the accounting department where he worked until he was drafted into the United States Army in 1952. His business management degree enabled him to complete his military service as Administrative NCO of the Officers Club at Ft. Benning, GA. In 1954, Al married a beautiful Irish girl, Katherine Kennelly, who worked at Northern Natural Gas. Al and Katie raised three children: Celann, Timothy and Patrick. Celann and Tim live in Omaha and have had successful careers in the insurance industry. Celann is married to Dr. Tim Crowley and Tim is married to Krissi Iske. Patrick was a writer and art dealer who pursued his dreams while living in San Francisco, Boston, and New York City before his death four years ago. Als wife Katie passed away in 2006. About the time Al and Katie began their family, Al went back to college to become certified to teach high school and later earned a Masters Degree in Education from Creighton University. After coaching and teaching Economics and Social Studies at Technical and Central High Schools, Al was promoted to Assistant Principal of Central High in 1968. During his tenure at Central, Al served on the OPS Desegregation Task Force and, during a major remodeling project, raised the funds to plant all the trees on the Dodge Street side of the school. He helped lead Central for more than 20 years, leaving in 1985 to become the principal of Beveridge Junior High where he remained until his retirement in 1989. In his retirement, Al supervised student teachers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, worked in the financial planning industry, and was an avid golfer, playing several times each week with his OPS friends. A man with several names, it is easy to tell how a person knows him: his family members all call him by his given name, Anthony; his high school and college friends and his wifes family all refer to him as Zeke; and his friends and co-workers from OPS know him as Al. One of Als most endearing traits were his warm smile and sparkling eyes, for he was truly a very happy person who loved life. He was preceded in death by his wife, Katherine K. LaGreca; son, Patrick LaGreca. He is survived by his daughter, Celann LaGreca (Dr. Timothy Crowley); son, Tim LaGreca (Krissi); three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends Thursday, August 28th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church, with VIGIL SERVICE at 7:30 pm at the church. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL Friday, August 29th at 10:30 am, Holy Cross Catholic Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Central High School Foundation.
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