Life Outside the Service

Connie and Alfred Mirabelli Wedding Photo

Connie and Alfred Mirabelli on their Wedding Day in 1957

Outside of his service in the Navy, Mirabelli had a very large family as well. His first wife was Betty Rostoni who had purposely gotten pregnant in order to get him to marry her, which he did. They married sometime in 1952 and divorced just a year later. The child they had together was Antionette, or Tina, who was born on December 31, 1952 and has since passed. He married his second wife, Connie, on April 6, 1957 in Utah and stayed married to her until her death on March 3, 1977. The couple had three children, Emil, Joseph, and Cynthia.

Susan and Alfred Mirabelli

Photo of Susan and Alfred Mirabelli

On April 1, 1978, Mirabelli married his third wife, Susan, who had four children already,  Carolyn (1960), Leroy (1961), Sherry (1965), and Karen (1966). Carolyn and Karen were the only two of the four children to be legally adopted by Mirabelli, thus taking his last name, but he did take care of Leroy for a long time, especially following his traumatic brain injury later in his life. Sherry lived with him following the birth of her daughter, Katie, in 1987, just two years before his death.

When discussing their father, Cynthia and Carolyn both have difficulty doing so without emotion due to the suddenness of his death. He was the most influential person in their lives and they both described him as the “most generous and loyal person [you] have ever met.” Cynthia often recalls when he used to take her out to breakfast, lunch, or dinner and would attempt to set her up with the various men working and constantly asking if they were single. He lived his life unapologetically and took great pride in his family. When his daughter, Carolyn, joined the Navy his pride for her only increased. After that point in ___ the two had an incredibly special and unbreakable bond. His most common quote when bragging about her was that she was “out keeping us from speaking Russian.”

Cynthia and Carolyn also recalled the fact that he did not often talk about his time spent in the service, especially Vietnam, and would carry these scars for the rest of his life. If he would discuss anything related to his service it was exclusively about the people and places that he saw and met throughout his service. Cynthia recalls that whenever the sun touched his back he would break out in hives and itch horribly, which is thought to be as a result to Agent Orange. During the Vietnam war, the United States started using a variety of techniques to help them better fight an “ever-elusive enemy.” Agent Orange was the most notable of these technologies. The United States spread over 13 million gallons of Agent Orange over millions of acres of forests. The effects were widespread and can still be seen today, whether ecologically or the effects on the people involved. Agent Orange was named for the colored marks on the 55-gallon drum in which it came and its major ingredient was dioxin. In 1970, the American Cancer Society conducted a study on Agent Orange and found that it was incredibly detrimental to the health of all involved including effects such as cancer and birth deformities. Before this, soldiers, such as Mirabelli, had no warning of what the effects would be and were thus exposed to these chemicals in great amounts.

Life Outside the Service