Fillippa Family History
The Dominic J. “Nick” Fillippa family moved to Grapeland in the summer of 1976. Nick Fillippa, the oldest son of an Italian immigrant family, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Gunn, and their four children, Dominic Jr., Paul, Patricia and Stephen, decided upon living in Grapeland after owning an 82 acre farm west of town for about four years. The family purchased the old Thomas Whitaker place east of Grapeland on the Lockout Road. Nick, who worked at Johnson Space Center (NASA), continued to commute for seven years leaving on Sunday evening or Monday morning and returning on Friday evening. Meanwhile, Mary Beth saw to the raising of the children during the week. The Fillippa family was happy to live in a small community and particularly Grapeland and began to fit in well with everyday life of the community. The four children became active in school and community activities, and the family attended the Catholic Church in Crockett. All four children completed high school in Grapeland and went on to higher education. Dominic Jr. attended Sam Houston State University and received a degree in accounting. Paul attended Texas State Technical Institute and received certification in mechanics, Patricia went to Stephen F. Austin State University to study education and Stephen attended Tyler Junior College. Patricia won the Peanut Queen contest at the Annual Peanut Festival in 1983. She married Kenneth Peterson of Grapeland in 1985. At this writing, none of the boys are married. After retiring from NASA, Nick enjoyed retirement life for 2 years before going to work at Vulcraft. As it has for many others, the local plant provided the opportunity of employment and income for the Fillippa’s. In 1986, Nick and Mary Beth enjoyed their 30th wedding anniversary and could reflect on the success of raising a good family and providing a wonderful home for their four children. Evidence of this is the family’s practice of gathering at Nick and Mary Beth’s home for Sunday dinner and the traditional spaghetti with rich tomato sauce. Nick the family provider and Mary Beth the strong-willed mother who devoted herself to the children and home can truly be compared to the original pioneers who settled Grapeland and many years before and made it a nice place to live.