Cyril “Babes” Granzella, 81, died Monday, November 29, at his home in Salida, with his family present. He had celebrated his 81st birthday on Sunday. Death was attributed to a lengthy illness from asbestos exposure.
He was born November 28, 1940 in Salida to Sil and Martha Granzella. He graduated from Salida High School in 1959 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after.
He joked that he joined the Navy because he was tired of milking cows and his dad had just got more cows on the family farm. As the youngest of five kids, he’d had enough of milking.
He became an aviation machinist mate and then went to submarine school and served on the USS Scorpion SSN 589 which was involved in the Bay of Pigs operation, and later on the USS Triton SSN 586. At that time the Triton was the world’s largest submarine and the only one in the U.S. built with twin reactors. It took about nine months to qualify for his Dophin on the nuclear sub. He served from 1959 until 1963, receiving an honorable discharge with the rank of Petty Officer Second Class.
He worked at Y & R Garage in Salida from 1963 to 1970 and with his brother, Dan Granzella, at Salida Ford. In 1967 he also began working at the Colorado State Reformatory where he retired with the rank of Captain in 1993.
He was a member of Heart of the Rockies Snowmobile club for many years and loved hunting, fishing, racing snowmobiles and rebuilding cars.
Growing up in Salida, his hero was his uncle, Cyril Coster, for whom he was named. Coster died at Normandy during World War II. Fifty years after the war ended “Babes” proudly accepted a medal posthumously on behalf of his uncle Cyril.
He married the former Sharon Arbaugh on June 3, 1963 and they celebrated 57 years of marriage prior to her death on August 19, 2020. They have two children, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
He was a longtime member of Elks Lodge #808 and VFW Post 3820 where he helped manage the Bingo games for many years, participated in Honor Guards at parades, veterans funerals and other events and set flags out at Salida businesses on patriotic holidays.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Sharon, his parents, two sisters, Olga Bunda and Zita Milder and brother Dan Granzella.
His is survived by a son, Andrew (Susan) Granzella; daughter,Kim (Tony) Belmonte, grandchildren Kayla (Tyler) Prosser, Marissa (Justin) Cuffe and Tony Belmonte, Salida/Buena Vista area, Joe Varner, John (Tiffany) Varner and Michelle Varner of the Denver area, great granddaughters, Hailey and Gracie Cuffe, Salida; Troy, Cole and Lily Varner of Denver brother, Ralph (Esther) Granzella, Delta ,sister in law, Katherine Granzella, Salida and many nieces, nephews, other family members and friends.
No service is planned at this time. Memorials can be made to the charity of the giver’s choice through Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home in Salida.
Cards may be sent to the family home at 223 Blake St., Salida, CO 81201 Arrangements are with Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home and online condolences can be sent to www.lewisandglenn.com.
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