Edmond P. DiGiannantonio
Commander, United States Navy
a contemporary press report:
Edmond P. "DiGi" DiGiannantonio, 83, a retired Navy commander who spent the last 12 years running a home-based business in Reston in which he marketed for nostalgia's sake the musical V-Discs he had held onto since World War II, died of prostate cancer February 19, 2000 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia.
Renowed performers of the day, from Glenn Miller to Ella Fitzgerald, made the more than 8 million V-Disc pressings - "V" for victory - from 1943 to 1949 to lift the morale of soldiers overseas during World War II.
The Navy's V-Disc operation started in 1944, and the pressings were ordered destroyed in 1949 out of fairness to the performers; the musicians did not receive royalties for their music, partly out of patriotism, partly because of an American Federation of Musicians recording ban from 1942 to 1944. V-Discs were exempted from the ban with the understanding that the music would not be sold commercially.
Commander DiGiannantonio, an amateur musician and jazz enthusiast who guarded nearly 1,000 V-Disc first-presses for the past half-century, did not come into their possession accidentally. A Purple Heart recipient, he had been assigned to the Navy's V-Disc operation in 1944 after having fought aboard the heavy cruiser Vincennes in the battles of Midway and Guadalcanal.
Starting in the late 1980s, according to several accounts, Commander DiGiannantonio assembled and sold 10 self-promoted volumes of V-Disc music after getting approval from the performers or their estates. He later made an agreement with Collector's Choice to distribute subsequent releases.
He was born in Milford, Massachusetts, and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in business administration. He was in the Navy from 1940 to 1954 and worked during the next three decades in anti-submarine warfare marketing and development for Raytheon Corp., TRW Inc. and EDO Corp.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Ann
W. DiGiannantonio of Reston; a son, Philip, of Harleysville, Pa.; three
daughters, Gail Brown of McLean, Amy Joffe of Vienna and Nancy DiGiannantonio
of Surf City, N.C.; one sister, Eleanor DiGiannantonio of Sterling; nine
grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Of Reston, VA on Saturday, February 19, 2000,
at Hospice of Northern Virginia, Arlington VA. Husband of Ann W. DiGiannantonio;
father of Gail Brown of McLean, VA, Nancy DiGiannantonio of Surf City,
NC, Amy Joffe, of Vienna, VA, Philip DiGiannantonio, of Harleysville, PA;
brother of Eleanor DiGiannantonio of Sterling, VA; father in-law of Nancy
DiGiannantonio and Dr. S. Weldon Brown. Also survived by nine grandchildren
and one great grandchild. Services will be held on Thursday, March 16,
2000 at 10:45 a.m. at Fort Myer Post Chapel. Inurnment with full military
honors immediately following at Arlington National Cemetery, Columnbarium.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Hospice of Northern Virginia,
6565 Arlington Blvd., Suite 500, Falls Church, VA 22042.