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Love Story: An event at a church got them to the altar

Virginia and Alfred Impellizzeri of West Islip in

Virginia and Alfred Impellizzeri of West Islip in 2014. Credit: Kathy Porfido

Alfred Impellizzeri of West Islip talks about meeting his wife, Virginia (Danubio).

Virginia and I met in 1940 at an event at a Pentecostal church on New Utrecht Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. I was 16 and living with my family in Borough Park. I worked in the meat department at Bohack, a grocery store in Sheepshead Bay. Virginia was 14½ and living in Bensonhurst with her family. After graduating from New Utrecht High School, Virginia worked at Royal Insurance Co. in Manhattan and volunteered as a Sunday school teacher and pastor’s assistant at Calvary Assembly of God Church in Brooklyn.

After leaving high school at 16 to help support my family, I joined the Army and was stationed in El Paso, Texas. My job was in the meat department at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center, where I had 10 butchers working for me. I would inspect the daily deliveries of quarters of beef for the meals the dietitians arranged. Every day, my team and I butchered enough meat to feed 1,000 people, both patients and staff.

During these years Virginia and I corresponded through letters. After I was discharged and back home in Brooklyn, we got engaged and then married on April 14, 1946. The ceremony was at Carroll Street Pentecostal Church in Downtown Brooklyn, and our reception was at the Biltmore Hotel in Manhattan.

After returning from our honeymoon in Niagara Falls, we moved in with my mother-in-law in her Bensonhurst home. I went back to work at the meat department at Bohack, this one on Metropolitan and Flushing avenues.

Virginia had a deep desire to be a minister. She continued her Bible studies and schooling on and off in preparation for ordination. She became an ordained minister in 1951 at the former Zion Bible Institute in East Providence, Rhode Island. I eventually switched to a part-time schedule so I could help Virginia in her ministry.

Our daughter, Kathleen, was born in 1947. A few years later we moved to Copiague, and then in 1959 we moved to a home in West Islip where we still live today.

Virginia became pastor at the Full Gospel Assembly Church in Islip Terrace where she pioneered ministries and grew the church's membership. She was known as Sister Virginia by the members and their children. I served alongside Virginia and was head deacon at the church.

Our extended family was very active in all the ministries. Virginia played a large role in both the church and the larger Islip community. She was on call 24 hours a day for those people who needed prayers, help or advice with any situation. To this day, people still contact her to seek counsel, including those who have moved out of the state. In total she pastored at the church for 65 years.

God blessed us with three grandsons, their lovely wives and 11 wonderful great-grandchildren.

After 65 years it was time for retirement, and we both stepped back from our roles in 2015 and are enjoying life especially with our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who all still live on Long Island and visit us frequently.

The love Virginia and I share continues to grow every day. God blessed our marriage throughout its 75 years, and we look forward to many more years together.

— With Ann Donahue-Smukler

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU MET. Access the online form at newsday.com/lilovestory — or send an anecdote along with your phone number and a photo to ann.smukler@newsday.com, or call Ann Donahue-Smukler at 631-843- 2520. Publication is not guaranteed. Photos cannot be returned and may be used in other publications affiliated with Newsday.

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