Michael F. DiLiello, an insurance agency owner and World War II veteran, died of complications from diabetes July 29 at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. A resident of the Glen Meadows retirement community in Glen Arm, he was 83.
Born and raised in Little Italy, he attended city public schools and worked at the Glenn L. Martin aircraft plant in Middle River before serving in an Army infantry unit during World War II.
Family members said that during a fierce encounter at the Battle of the Bulge, he narrowly missed being hit by fire from a German tank.
"He made a promise on the spot that, if spared, he would help others," said his daughter, Lillian T. Sigler of Parkville.
After the war he returned to his Martin job but gave it up to became a John Hancock insurance salesman. He was successful and soon opened his own agency, the DiLiello Insurance Co. on South High Street. It and another business, Central Acceptance Co., remain in family hands.
"He was a people person and an excellent salesman," his daughter said.
For many years he helped raise funds for United Cerebral Palsy of Central Maryland. Family members said that after reading a newspaper article about Michael Bugher, a young man who needed a heart and lung transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Mr. DiLiello mounted a campaign for his assistance.
Mr. DiLiello was a member of a board that established Christopher Columbus Park on President Street in the Inner Harbor.
In 1973, Gov. Marvin Mandel appointed him a trustee of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund. He was later chairman of its advisory board.
Mr. DiLiello received the Paul Harris Award from the Pikesville Rotary and the Dr. Frank J. Marino Award from members of the Italian-American Charities. He was also the recipient of the Thomas J. D'Alesandro Jr. Good Citizen Award.
His wife of 58 years, the former Rita D'Apice, died in 2002.
A Mass was offered Thursday at St. Leo Roman Catholic Church, where he had been a member. In addition to his daughter, survivors include two sons, Michael F. DiLiello Jr. of Towson and Nicholas F. DiLiello of Rosedale; a companion, Ann Ewell of Dundalk; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.