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County in Mourning Nicholas J. Morana, Community Warrior, Laid to Rest at Age 98

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A funeral Mass was held Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church for Nicholas J. Morana, age 98, US Army Colonel (Ret.), amidst tributes from a grateful community and salutes from fellow service members.

Born Oct. 16, 1925, in Boston, Mass., to Leah and Joseph Morana, Morana married Ann Rappa in 1950 and together had six children: Kathryn, Nicholas Jr., Joseph, Lucy, Paul and David. He was predeceased by his son Joseph, who died in a car accident in 1975. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he also had nine grandchildren: Gina, Melissa, Christine, Anthony, Vincent, Alisha, Sarah, Jessica, and Matt, and 12 great-grandchildren.

At age 12, he joined the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 300, in Washington, DC. He rose to Eagle Scout and was selected to present Christmas Greetings to President Roosevelt at the White House on Christmas Eve 1942.

He was the recipient of a scholarship to Gonzaga College High School, and in his high school senior year, he was drafted and assigned to the Army Air Corps. He was trained as a radio operator and gunner on B-17 flying fortresses during World War II. Commissioned in 1956 as First Lieutenant in the Army Reserve, he graduated from the US Army Command and General School and The US Army War College and rose to the rank of Colonel.

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A graduate of Georgetown University, he worked as a physiologist, military analyst and became Chief of Management Employee Relations of the Civilian Personnel Office of the U.S. Army Natick Labs, Natick, Mass.

After retiring in 1982, Morana and his family moved to Spring Hill after buying a plot of land from the Deltona Corporation and the Mackle Brothers.

He often reminisced about those early days in Spring Hill, how empty it was and how he could drive to the mall in Port Richey in 18 minutes. “Not anymore,” he would say, “Not unless it’s in a helicopter.”
Morana was tireless in his dedication to making life better for his community and was instrumental in getting the very first street lights erected along Spring Hill Drive. By 1983, he was elected President of the Spring Hill Civic Association.

He then co-founded the Hernando County Enrichment Centers and served as Chairman of its Board of Directors for 25 years.

Bob Kanner, a Krueger Enrichment Center board director, said, “Nick made a lasting impact on our community. He worked tirelessly by contributing his time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.”

“My wife, Angela, and I were longtime friends of Nick and his family,” he added. “He was a true role model and reached far and above his daily life in so many ways to truly affect lives across our county in amazing ways. We shall always remember him.”

Morana was a prolific fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for 21 years and he and his wife met with the actor Danny Thomas (Founder of the Hospital) on several occasions.

Gus Guadagnino, local businessman, School Board member and founder of the Veterans HEAT Factory said he was devastated at the news of Morana’s passing.

“He died peacefully and I’m thankful that God gave him that blessing after all the good work he did over the years,” he said. “Nick had so much love for his country, community and family. He meant so much to so many and we are greatly going to miss him. I just can’t say enough good things about him.”

Guadagnino recalled how he and Morana used to visit St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in Tennessee together. “It was amazing how he used to light up when he went there and saw the children,” he added. “He loved his wife dearly and was one of those Vets who never stopped helping others.”

In 1997, the local Chamber of Commerce named him Citizen of the Year. In 1998, he became a 20-gallon blood donor and in 2002, he received the “10 Who Care” Award for Outstanding Community Service from Channel 10 WTSP.

In 2003, he was presented with the Liberty Bell Award by the Hernando County Legal Association for outstanding community involvement.

Morana also served as Grand Knight of Council 6383 Knights of Columbus, as District Deputy of the K of C. He also served as President of Chapter 1322 of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, as President of the local chapter of the Reserve Officers Association and President of the local chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.

Morana was also a Board Member for the RSVP Program (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) and a member of the Bishop’s Catholic Formation and Education Board. He also co-founded the Hernando County Community Coalition, the Hernando County Brotherhood Sisterhood Association and the Hernando County Human Rights Association. In 1990, he was awarded the Service to Mankind Award from the local Sertoma Club.

He also served as a board member of the Spring Hill and Brooksville Regional Hospitals and the Community Advisory Committee of Oak Hill Hospital.

Nicholas J. Morana: We thank you for your service, your efforts and your actions in improving the quality of life for all of us. We salute you for making a difference and for your selfless contributions.

Morana was laid to rest with full military honors at the National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.

[File photo]

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