Pietro “Pete” Cali, 94, of Palmyra, passed away on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at the M.S. Hershey Medical Center. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Rosa (Vaccaro) Cali.

Born in Casteldaccia, Italy, on May 6, 1929, he was the son of the late Salvatore and Pietrina (Martorana) Cali.

Prior to immigrating to the United States, Pete and his father owned and operated lemon farms. At age 26, Pete immigrated to the United States of America with only the clothes he was wearing, risking his life on the two-week voyage by ship for freedom and a better opportunity. He settled in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, where he began working at Romano’s restaurants as a prep cook and eventually learned how to make pizza. He landed his first pizzeria job at Lenny’s Pizza in Brooklyn, New York. Shortly after, he ventured out on his own and bought his first pizzeria in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, where he also bought his first home. He then bought four additional pizzerias along Jamaica Avenue in Queens, New York. Throughout this time, he had helped bring many of his family members to America, teaching them the pizzeria trade and helping them open their own pizzerias. Pete met his wife, Rosa Vaccaro, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, and was a proud father to both of his daughters, Pietrina and Paola. After visiting his sister-in-law in Annville, Pennsylvania, Pete and his wife decided to open the first Italian–New York pizzeria on Cumberland Street in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Shortly after moving his family into their first Pennsylvania residence in Annville, Pete began opening additional Roma Pizzerias throughout Lebanon County (Myerstown, Palmyra, and Annville), helping family members learn the trade and operating locations in both Lebanon and Lancaster counties until they were able to be on their own.

He was the owner of five pizzerias in Queens, New York, located on 117th Street and along Jamaica Avenue from 117th Street to Atlantic Avenue. He migrated to Lebanon County in the late 1960s, opening Roma Pizza in Lebanon, Myerstown, Palmyra, and Annville.

He was a very ambitious and successful entrepreneur/restaurateur, who loved people. He enjoyed helping others and making people smile. Everyone was a friend to him. Pete engaged in light-hearted banter and shared his indigenous recipes from Sicily with his customers and friends.

Pete loved his family with all his heart. He was always mentioning the days at Coney Island with his wife, Rosa, and his children, Pietrina and Paola, walking the boardwalk and enjoying time with family. Day trips to the beach and walking on the boardwalk were some of his favorite activities during the summer months. He also loved gardening and landscaping.

He was a member of Holy Spirit Church in Palmyra and was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. Pete also had a passion for dancing. He was known to be the last one to step away from the dance floor.

Surviving is two daughters, Paola, of Palmyra, and Pietrina, wife of Salvatore, of Annville; a sister, Maria, of Annville; and two grandchildren, Giovanni and Angela. In addition, he had many nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Onofrio and Giovanni; and a sister, Giacinta.

A public viewing will be held on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, from 6-8 p.m., at Kreamer Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 618 E. Main St., Annville, PA 17003. An additional public viewing will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2024, from 10-11 a.m., at the funeral home. Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 12 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 2024, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 300 W. Pine St., Palmyra, PA 17078. Interment will be held in Grand View Memorial Park, Annville.

Kreamer Funeral Home and Crematory, Annville is handling arrangements.