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Joyce Funeral Home

245 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02453
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“Dear Mrs. Decola, Cecilia and Maureen,My brother Paul Sullivan informed me of the recent passing of Sam. My son in law, Justin Dowd grew to know Sam...Read More »
1 of 14 | Posted by: Kathleen Sullivan-Meskunas - FL

“I was saddened to hear of the news that Sam had passed away. I would often see him in Shaws picking up a few things and would ask how he was doing...Read More »
2 of 14 | Posted by: bernice n - waltham, MA

“Aunt Sis, so sorry to hear about Uncle Sam. You are all in my thoughtsLove, Tabitha ”
3 of 14 | Posted by: Tabitha Bellerive (Miller) - MA

“Aunt Sis, Cecilia and Maureen,I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.Love,Gail ”
4 of 14 | Posted by: Gail Langlois - Oldsmar, FL

“Dear Cecilia, Maureen and Mrs. Decola,Our thought and prayers are with you. God BlessLove, Paula, Craig and Jared ”
5 of 14 | Posted by: Paula Currie - Waltham, MA

“To the entire family I extend my deepest sympathy. Sam was a truly great man of whom you should all be very proud. He lived a good, long life. I...Read More »
6 of 14 | Posted by: Paul Douglas - Waltham, MA

“So sorry to hear this news. Your father was always so happy to see you and just talk. What a beautiful couple! Fond memories and laughs! ”
7 of 14 | Posted by: Marianne Viscardi - Westborough, MA

“So sorry for your loss. I always enjoyed seeing your dad and grandpa. He was a great man. Loved his Italian cookies too ”
8 of 14 | Posted by: Lynne Fenton - Grafton, MA

“Pepsi, your joyful and loving life will always be an example to me as I try to live a life worth living. Many know the story of what you did for our...Read More »
9 of 14 | Posted by: David Willner - Colorado Springs, CO

“We love you Sam. So thankful for your life. Family,Bill and I can't be at the services, but you are in our hearts and prayers. ”
10 of 14 | Posted by: Laura Langton - Waltham - Friend

“To All the Decola Family: We were so sorry to hear about our loss. We'll certainly miss him. With love and sympathy. Tom Duffy & Mary Ann ”
11 of 14 | Posted by: priscilla thayer - waltham, MA

“To Aunt Sis, Cousins Celia and Maureen:We are very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and hope that you can be comforted by...Read More »
12 of 14 | Posted by: Kim Rivera - Jupiter, FL - Family

“I'll offer my family's condolences on Mr. Decola's passing. We lived around the corner on Rose Hill Way from their home on Farnum Rd. I remember that...Read More »
13 of 14 | Posted by: Paul Sullivan - San Francisco, CA

“Sam, thank you for your service to this country and to being a kind-hearted and compassionate human being. It was a privilege to know you and your...Read More »
14 of 14 | Posted by: Ann Witham - Waltham, MA - Friend

Waltham – The Charles Dickens novel 'A Tale of Two Cities' begins with "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . ." and for Waltham's Sam Decola that was the advent of World War II.

On January 7, 1942, exactly a month after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor twenty-two year old Sam found himself among a group of young men gathered at Fort Devens swearing an oath to defend the country and that day put on an Army uniform that would become his only wardrobe for the next three years and nine months.

It was the best of times for Sam because on the troop train heading to Fort Knox, Kentucky for infantry and tank school he met George Miller of Sturbridge who became his best buddy in the service. And while on leave home to Sturbridge Sam met George's only sister, Cecilia, who as Sam put it "had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen . . ." It was love at first sight for Sam.

It was the worst of times for Sam because beginning on D-Day plus 18 Sam's unit, Company D; 32nd Armored Regiment; 3rd Armored Division; nicknamed "Spearhead", went ashore at Normandy and spent the next two-hundred thirty-one consecutive days in combat.

As a cook Sam carried a rifle and a spatula and rode right behind the tanks all the way from the break-out at Normandy and across the French countryside. He survived the infamous Battle of the Bulge over Christmas, 1944 and drove his truck across the Rhine River deep into Germany.

Along the way he picked up a nickname, "Pepsi", and on the ninth of April, 1945 on the push to Berlin Sam's tank column picked up two teenagers escaping Nazi imprisonment, Eddie Willner and Mike Swabb. The boys were taken under D Company's wing and found themselves riding along "Pepsi's" food truck where Sam and his men clothed the boys with their uniforms and made sure they had plenty to eat. The two refugees left D Company's care when the unit was sent stateside never to be heard from again . . . or so they thought.

Unbelievably, in 2002, Eddie Willner's wife Johanna searched for the 'Boys of Company D' and were able to find them, including Pepsi, and arranged for an emotional reunion of the group in the fall of that year. Eddie was able to emigrate to the States after the war where he joined the United States Army and enjoyed a distinguished career and retired as a major.

Sam's story began many years earlier when he was born in Lincoln on May 31, 1919, one of five children born to the late Gussy "Jack" and Francesca (Diodati) Decola. His family farm straddled the Lincoln/Wayland town lines and the kids worked the land in Lincoln and attended school in Wayland where Sam graduated from high school.

During the Depression Sam's family had it tough but always looked for opportunities to better themselves and their family. Late 1939 brought an opportunity to go into the diner business in Waltham where a year later the family opened the Monarch Diner on Main Street at the corner of Grant.

Sam would tell you that his best day ever came on November 17, 1948 when he married his buddy George's younger sister, Cecilia G. Miller, in Saint Mary's Church in Southbridge. For the next sixty-eight years Sam and Celia were inseparable.

Louis "Sam" "Pepsi" Decola died on Monday, November 28, 2016 knowing that he'd given everything he had to be a good husband, father, grandfather, son and brother. He was 97.

Sam was a man of great faith. He and Celia were longtime members of Saint Jude Parish where Sam was as an usher at the 10:30 Mass for as long as anyone can remember. When he wasn't ushering he and Celia were Eucharistic ministers at the masses they attended.

He belonged to the Joseph F. Hill American Legion Post No. 156 in Waltham and he was able to enjoy life's simplest pleasures . . . another lesson from the war. He was a terrific gardener whose tomatoes were second to none and he never lost his skill in the kitchen.

In addition to his bride of sixty-eight years, Cecilia, he leaves his children, Cecilia F. Viscardi of Northborough and Maureen Decola Harrison of Waltham; his granddaughter, Julie Viscardi-Smalley and her husband, Justin, of Shrewsbury; his greatgrandchildren, Charlie and Luciana Smalley and many nieces and nephews.

He was the brother of the late John and Murry Decola, Jean Caisey and Delia Lyons.

Family and friends will honor and remember Sam's life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham on Friday, December 2nd from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. and again at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning before leaving in procession to Saint Jude Church, 147 Main Street, Waltham where his Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Waltham.

Memorial donations may be made to Saint Jude Parish, 147 Main Street, Waltham, MA 02453.

Riposa in pace.