Pente Family: 100 Years in Little Italy

John Pente with daughter Margaret Schwartz and son-in-law Al Schwartz celebrate over 100 years in Little Italy. Photo by Lisa Doyle.

Sadly, Little Italy’s John Pente passed away earlier this week at age 100. Mr. Pente was a lifelong resident of Little Italy and Baltimore Heritage’s first honoree in the Centennial Homes program. Mr. Pente’s family moved into the house on High Street in 1904, and Mr. Pente lived there almost his entire life. His grandfather settled along President Street in Baltimore as an immigrant from Abruzzi, Italy in the 1890s when “Little Italy” was more German and English than Italian.  The area became known as “Little Italy” in the 1920s after the first Italian restaurant opened then. As part of Baltimore’s growing Italian community in the area, the Pente family found work where they could and carried on a family tradition as musicians in various local Italian bands. As a volunteer with St. Leo’s Church, the Sons of Italy, and the ambassador for the Little Italy Film Festival (which projected from a window on his second floor), John Pente was an active participant for decades in helping neighborhood grow and prosper. Part of this remarkable man’s legacy is certainly the Little Italy neighborhood that he took such good care of.

Click here to download a brief profile of the Pente Family by Cristina Ambroselli for our Centennial Homes program.

The Baltimore Sun ran a nice article on Mr. Pente in today’s paper.  Also, WYPR will re-broadcast an interview with Mr. Pente from 2009 when he helped launch the Centennial Homes program.  The interview will air on Friday, July 30, between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. A viewing will be held at Zanino’s Funeral Home in Highlandtown on Friday between 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. and a funeral mass will be held at St. Leo’s Church in Little Italy on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

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