Ipswich — Angelo C. Perna, 74, passed away at the Masconomet Health Center in Topsfield, on June 17, 2012, after a valiant battle with cancer. He was born February 8, 1938, in Highland Falls, N.Y. He was the youngest and last surviving sibling of 14 children. His parents were Carmine and Maria Perna, both born in villages near Naples, Italy. He served in the U.S. Army in postwar Korea, where he patrolled the DMZ for 13 months with his German shepherd, Klack. After military service, he graduated from SUNY Cortland with a degree in physical education and earned a master's degree in guidance and administration from Indiana State University. He went on to earn more than 60 additional graduate hours.
Ang moved to Ipswich in 1968, taught physical education at Ipswich High School and started the high school boys soccer team. He was part of the coaching team that led Ipswich to its football Super Bowl championship in 1968. In addition, he also was the head wrestling coach. His 1969 wrestling team placed third in the state. After Ipswich he taught for 28 years in Gloucester schools, where he continued to coach a variety of sports, including soccer and track and field.
Following retirement, he became known as the voice of ACP Sports Videos and was a regular presence at Ipswich sports events. He was also familiar to many in town for lining the soccer fields for Ipswich Youth Soccer.
He had many passions: his family, sports, dancing, his red Mercury Capri convertible, and his town. He participated in many town committees over the years and spent many volunteer hours improving fields and playing conditions for youth sports. He wrote a Citizen’s Petition to acquire land behind the former high school. Known as “Angie’s Field of Dreams,” it was unsupported by all the boards of Town Government, but Town Meeting voted to approve the purchase. It later proved instrumental in the plan of the present high/middle school. He also played a key role in acquiring funding to remodel the library at the former middle school.
He will be remembered by many as their Little League, Youth Hockey, or Youth Soccer coach. He was not only a great father to his own two sons, he was a father figure to innumerable boys and girls in Ipswich and Gloucester.
He played varsity soccer, baseball, and lacrosse in college, ran track for the U.S. Army, played ice hockey with the Ipswich Hawks, many years for the Ipswich Chiefs baseball team and later for the Over-30 Softball League. After knee surgery, he gave up the field and became an umpire for the league, making his last call last summer.
He was honored with induction into the Ipswich High School Sports Hall of Fame this year.
He is survived by his son Christopher Perna and his wife Amy; son Joseph Perna and his wife Jennifer and their three children, Amelia, Keegan, and Addison; his nephew Anthony Hashey of Scarboro, Maine; his companion Virginia Ciolino of Magnolia; his friend and former wife, Beverly Perna, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins across the country. He also will be missed by his friends in the Highland Falls, N.Y., class of 1957 who stayed in touch right to the end.
Bang the drum slowly and play the fife lowly. Those who loved him prayed for extra innings, but he was called up to The Show by the great General Manager. He played hard — he left it all on the field.
ARRANGEMENTS: His funeral will be held Thursday, June 21, at 9 a.m. from the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home, 6 High St., Ipswich, followed by the celebration of a 10 a.m. funeral Mass at Our Lady of Hope Church, Pineswamp Road, Ipswich. Relatives and friends invited to attend. Visiting hours are Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. Burial will be in Highland Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Ang’s memory to the ACP Sports Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Institution for Savings, 2 Depot Square, Ipswich, MA 01938. The family requests that anyone who had Ang as a coach or was somehow touched by his life wear their Ipswich or Gloucester colors or team jersey. For directions or to leave a condolence, please visit www.whittier-porter.com/.