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Chargers Mourn Passing of Isabelle Pernicano

Posted Dec 24, 2012

There will be a Mass in Belle’s honor at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery (4470 Hilltop Dr., San Diego, CA 92102) on Thursday, January 3, at 10 am.

Isabelle “Belle” Pernicano, wife of Chargers minority owner George Pernicano, passed away Thursday at her home in El Cajon, California. She was 95. Belle is survived by her husband of 72 years, George; sons Gary and Larry; grandchildren Tony, Michelle, Tina, George, Aimee and Andrew; and 13 great grandchildren.

Here is how she was described by her granddaughter Tina:

Charming, classy and exquisite. Beauty and gentility. Grace and dignity. Dainty with an untouchable purity. She had “Champagne Style” and refined elegance that glistened as she spoke. Her eyes were of the blue sea as if you saw into her soul every time she directed them at you. No matter where she was or what the event she was the object of everyone’s interest. She never fancied a lot of fuss she was as simplistic and genuine as the sun rising in the morning.

Belle was an amazingly sweet and tender mother, sister, grandmother, friend, and support to all she ever touched. She never faltered in her demeanor or her stature. She was the explanation of Heaven on Earth.  Not a day went by that she did not fight to her fullest. She never gave up her will to be the 20 year old she always felt inside. She shared her life, her love, her talents, her heartaches, her triumphs, her strife’s and her accomplishments with everyone she met.

Belle was born in a little Polish town of Hamtramack , MI on August 4th, 1917. She lived in Michigan growing up. She had three siblings whom she loved very deeply and spoke about always. Eleanor, June and Wallace.  They are waiting for her now in heaven and I am sure Belle is cooking for them. It was in Eastwood Park in Detroit one night at The Dance Hall that she met her partner for life, George Pernicano. They danced all night under the lights to the Big Band Era. They sat on the step and talked for hours and hours after. From that day on Isabelle was no longer alone. That was the first night of the rest of her life with George and the big loving family that she would come to call her own.

After being told by doctors that she could not have children she got the surprise of a lifetime. Twin boys! Gary and Larry were born on June 17th, 1946. Shortly after they moved to sunny San Diego along with many of George’s family. They established the 1st Pizza Place in San Diego in 1946 naming it Pernicano’s. Belle worked as a waitress and helped run what became the place to be in town. Belle and George made life long friends that explored the world, celebrated life and raised their families together. One of those beloved friends helped bring another family into her life, The San Diego Chargers. After becoming a minority owner with her husband George, Belle lived and breathed the Chargers. She always shopped for specific clothing that was classy yet “Charger” appropriate for every game. She knew all the players all the positions all the weaknesses and strengths of the teams. She spoke sometimes like she was an assistant coach. Game time she was serious and always very attentive.  Up until her final days she still spoke about the team and what she felt about how they were playing at the time.

The sisters –in-laws were more like true sisters. They became very close; there was a special bond that formed between them.  One of them became Belle’s very best friend as well, Kate. When Kate passed Belle was left with a piece of her heart missing. Family was a part of her every breath and loss was a loss of air.

Belle loved entertaining and having family and friends over at the ranch. There were always card games going on in the bunk- house with the uncles and aunts. Belle was always cooking and fixing and washing in the kitchen. But, that was one thing that made her happiest. FAMILY. Belle loved her family and treasured holidays and birthdays and events share together. There is nothing she cared for more than her family.

Over the years she became the proud grandma of six grandchildren. Tony, Michelle, Tina, George, Aimee and Andrew. With them came thirteen great grandchildren that somehow she had more than enough love to share with all of them. She never forgot about any of them and their birthdays. She always wanted to know the latest and greatest news on each and everyone of them. Her famous line was, “What’s New?” And you had to tell her something!

Belle was always polished with perfection. No matter where she was off to, even if it was the ER she had to have her lipstick and brush. First impression lasts a lifetime…

She always had you laughing. In good times and in bad she found a way to turn you frown upside down. And sometimes she would shock the socks off of you what she would come up with but it as sure to put some giggles in your cheeks.

She has made a lifetime impression on all of us that have been blessed to be a part of her life, touch her life in anyway or just be in the presence of her sweet, gentle, delicate heart.

We will never forget the gift of unconditional love and life she gave to us. She is an angel in heaven now keeping watch over us as always.



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