On Tuesday, July 19, 2016, Carmen Marcone, World War II veteran and former owner of the Milford Café, now known as Milford Tavern, passed away at the age of 92. Mr. Marcone was well-known in Milford, owning Carmen’s Delicatessan in Lewes, Rehoboth and Milford before purchasing Milford Café on South Walnut Street in Milford.
Born in Wilmington, Mr. Marcone proudly served in the United States Army during World War II as a paratrooper in the 503 Airborne Division. Before his death, Mr. Marcone spoke to his family about his time in the service.
“I went to basic training in Spartanburg, South Carolina and got in with a bunch of ex-jocks that wanted to be paratroopers,” Mr. Marcone said. “We all signed up for it and I was the only one to pass the physical. They then sent me to Fort Benning, Georgia, for parachute training and then to radio school because my last name was Marcone.” Mr. Marcone served in the Asian corridor and was shot in the arm after jumping into Correigidor in the Phillipines. He said that he made 18 jumps over two missions while in the service.
When he returned to Delaware, he went to work for DuPont, spending over ten years working at the manufacturing company. Mr. Marcone moved to Lewes in 1956, taking a job at the Beer Garden for two years before opening his first delicatessen in Lewes. In 1958 or 1959, he opened a second location in Rehoboth and about three years later, opened a larger location in Lewes. He opened his Milford store in 1962. He met his wife, Doris Hunnicutt, in 1962. Ms. Marcone had two daughters, Luanne and Barbie, when they married. Ms. Marcone was the daughter of Al Hunnicut who lived on Cedar Beach Road.
Although it is not clear when he purchased the business, Mr. Marcone was the owner of Milford Café, which is now Milford Tavern, and his father-in-law managed it. Eventually, his father-in-law purchased the tavern and operated it until his death when Rick Hoomans purchased the property.
After his retirement, Mr. Marcone returned to bowling, a hobby he loved before he entered the service. In his interview, Mr. Marcone talks about a fellow soldier from New Jersey who was also a bowler.
“We were in the islands and this kid, Nicolas Bulbasaro, was working in the post office at the time,” Mr. Marcone said. “We got to talking and I learned he was a bowler. I told him that when we were discharged, we would be close to his home in New Jersey and that I would take him to the closest bowling alley and beat him. I was discharged later than he was due to my arm injury, but when I was discharged, I was in Fort Monmouth, not far from him. I went to his house and he took me to a bowling alley. I bowled a 210 and he bowled a 180 and I was wearing combat boots. He never forgot that. He was so mad.”
Mr. Marcone went to work at the Milford Bowling Lanes upon his retirement and served as Secretary fo the Senior Bowling League for 17 years. He was inducted into the Lower Delaware Bowling Hall of Fame for promoting bowling among seniors. Mr. Marcone also helped establish traveling bowling leagues and enjoyed going to different cities to bowl. He created a North-South Tournament that he had hoped would continue, but has since been discontinued as well as establishing “shootouts” in the area.
“Shootouts have the best bowlers in Kent and Sussex County competing with the best bowlers in New Castle County,” Mr. Marcone explained. “Bowlers could win prizes that had been donated by local businesses.”
Mr. Marcone is survived by his wife of 53 years, his two step-daughters, Luanne Holland and husband L.T., Barbie McDaniel and her husband Park as well as three grandchildren, Kevin Flaherty and his wife, Catherine; Kelly Riley and her husband, Mike; Brittany Benton and her husband, Bruce; two step-grandchildren, Cheryl Keffer and husband, Jamie and Brad McDaniel. He is also survived by five great-grandchildren and a step-grandson as well as several nieces and nephews.
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