Steven Vitanza (Steve, Papa), age 71 of Eastlake, passed away at Hillcrest Hospital on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. Steve was born, May 11, 1949 in Cleveland, Ohio to the late Joseph and Doris (nee Frusterio) Vitanza. The family moved to Lyndhurst, Ohio where Steve graduated in 1967 from Charles F. Brush High School.
Handsome and loving husband of Jo Ann (nee Miska) for 49 years. Devoted and Loving Father of Steven (Mary), Andrea (Tony) Russo and Gina (George, III) Burich. Loving and Protective Papa to Alexis (Ben) Zak, Morgan (Grant Harris) and Adriana Vitanza, Braeden Burich, Victoria Russo, Josie Burich and Olivia Russo, as well as great grandfather to Paisley Grace Harris. Loving brother of Nancy (John, deceased) Ciani.
A lover of music, Steve studied music and music theory at Cuyahoga Community College and Lakeland College, School of Music before being drafted. Steve proudly served in the US Navy, assigned to the USS Canisteo, with tours of duty in the Mediterranean, Europe and Vietnam.
A gifted musician Steve played many musical instruments, sax, clarinet, flute, and piano. While playing sax in a band called the Holidays at Hires Lounge, Steve asked to be introduced to who would then become his wife, Jo Ann. They started dating in 1969 and married in 1971. She always said that he was “her best gift.”
Known as “Captain Safety” to family and close friends. He was very protective of each and every family member insuring that whatever was needed was done to keep them all safe. Steve not only took care of his family with loving care, but also that of his home with everything meticulously cared for.
Retiring just a few years ago, Steve worked for over 50 plus years in the grocery and retail industry. Retiring as grocery manager from Giant Eagle in Mentor, Ohio. He also was head bartender and bartending scheduler for Normandy Party Center, a job which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Steve was all things good, he was a devoted husband, father, and Papa, loving, caring and hard-working. He insured that his family was well taken care of and worked several jobs providing for their education, weddings and needs, all of which were so greatly appreciated. He was so loved by his family and his love, care and dedication will forever be appreciated. He will always be with us as a fine example of what true love really means. God bless you Papa and let the “Big Guy” upstairs welcome you home!
The family would like to thank Dr. Vinit Makkar and his entire staff at Hillcrest Hospital, Hematology/Oncology and Seidman 3rd Floor for their compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, please donate a gift of blood and platelets as a gift of life.
A funeral mass will be held at 10 AM Monday, January 25 at St. Justin Martyr Church, 35781 Stevens Blvd., Eastlake. Burial at All Souls Cemetery. Masks and social distancing will be required.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Jeff Monreal Funeral Services.