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May 18, 2017

Memorial service to recall life of punk-rock icon Freddy Pompeii

Obituaries Freddy Pompeii
Freddy Pompeii Photo courtesy/Dana Michael

Freddy Pompeii, left, plays guitar during a local 'Fight F*** or Dance' concert about two years ago. The punk-rock icon died of lung cancer in Philadelphia on May 13, 2017.

Freddy DiPasquale, a South Philly native better known to the punk-rock world as Freddy Pompeii, lost his battle to lung cancer earlier this month. 

Friends will gather next weekend to remember his life and celebrate his legacy.

In a series of interviews at the Penn Center for Rehabilitation and Care in University City this spring, the 70-year-old spoke about the fight for his life and how he hoped to take the stage again as he did with bands like The Viletones.

“I never say ‘if’ I perform again. It’s always ‘when' I’ll perform again,” he said.

It was not meant to be, as he passed away on May 13.

“Tonight, the world lost a legend and I lost my best friend,” wrote Dana Michael, one of Pompeii's many friends, upon his passing. “But, Freddy Pompeii died the way you would've pictured: surrounded by women."

Pompeii was also warmly remembered by Rodney Anonymous, a fellow Philadelphian and frontman for The Dead Milkmen.

“He was the guy whom everyone was always happiest to see, and he'll be the guy whom everyone will miss the most,” Anonymous told PhillyVoice. "He just got bored with kicking cancer's ass and decided to move on."

While a Philadelphian through and through, Pompeii made a lasting mark in Canada, where he was part of Toronto’s upstart punk scene.

Photo courtesy/Dana Michael

During his hospital stays, friends would visit to lift Freddy Pompeii's spirits. He would lift theirs, too.

“Obviously he was significant, being involved in one of the very first punk rock bands here, and the band that I think was the premiere punk rock band in Canada,” Toronto punk historian Don Pyle said in an obituary on “He was also so generous in supporting other artists. He was friendly and not competitive, funny and really goofy. He always wanted a good laugh.”

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, May 27, at Tattooed Mom (530 South St.). It will run from 1 to 4 p.m. 

While costs have been covered for the memorial, anyone who wishes to donate to the Freddy Pompeii Musician Fund can do so by finding Margaret Barnes DeColle, Freddy's ex-wife and caretaker, at the event.