Obituary of Michael DiPasquale
Michael DiPasquale Jr. was born in New York City on February 9, 1933 and passed away at the age of 88 on April 11, 2021, of complications from COVID-19. He was the third son, and seventh of eight children, born to Rose and Michael DiPasquale. He was Mike to his many friends and Mikey to his family. As a child, he was an active, curious, lovable boy playing stickball on the streets with broom handles as bats and pushing a home-made scooter he fashioned from orange crates and roller skate wheels. He graduated from Christopher Columbus High School, Bronx, NY, in 1951, then volunteered to enter the Navy during the Korean War. He served honorably and saw active duty on the destroyer USS Stephen Potter DD-528 (duty dates: March 17, 1952 to January 18, 1954). During his teen years, Mikey became the legendary skilled cook he was so well known for, starting from a job at a ravioli and Italian specialty shop on Morris Park Avenue in the Bronx named Riviera Ravioli. His love of cars also began in his teens, and he managed to get an early driver’s license by applying for it in NJ rather than in his home state of NY. He remained a connoisseur of luxury cars, enjoying driving with all the amenities he cared about, for the rest of his life.
In 1960 Mikey married his first wife, Elizabeth Conner, and began a life with his children, the four “Annes”: Dianne and Annie, and his adopted daughters, Joanne and Suzanne. Tragically Joanne and Suzanne died long before their time. Mikey also began his highly skilled career as a crane operator, one of only a few licensed in the city of New York to operate cranes safely during the building of huge skyscrapers such as the Citicorp Building (for which he was honored on a plaque at this building), the George Washington Bridge and the World Trade Center. Mikey also used his crane skills to raise the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center annually for several years. His enrollment in the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14-14B sustained him for the rest of his life and made him a strong advocate for the union movement.
In 1989, Mikey married Dolores Femia, on a weekend when Hurricane Hugo hit the state of South Carolina but spared the island of Hilton Head where they were married. Together, Mikey and Dolores lived the idyllic retirement life for ten years, in homes in Hilton Head, then in Phoenix in the winter, near Dolores’ relatives, and summers in New Jersey, near Mikey’s relatives. Their seasonal drives between homes, crossing the country in a luxury car, were planned with a view to visiting new and exciting parts of the country, north and south, until tragedy struck when his beloved life partner, Dolores, passed away, a victim of cancer.
Mikey never attended college, but was a self-directed, constant and curious learner all of his life, an autodidact. He was a history buff with a clap-trap memory, a regular educational television viewer, avid reader, and news junkie. He was a gourmet-level cook and foodie, passing on his culinary skills to his children. He was a rabid Yankee fan, and even enjoyed classical ballet, having dated the sister of one of Balanchine’s principal dancers, Edward Villella. Mostly he was a devoted son, father and grandfather, but also part of a unique circle of eight siblings who forged a special bond of family love that now permeates as well throughout the next generation of nieces and nephews. He did not suffer fools gladly, and detested politicians who challenged democracy and truth. He famously stated his strong views with passion and strong conviction.
Mikey is survived by his beloved and devoted daughters, Dianne Smith and Anne Geier, Anne’s partner Al Weeks, and three grandsons, Milo Smith, Talon Smith and Tommy Geier. He was predeceased by his parents, Rose (Parillo) and Michael DiPasquale, brothers Mario and Vincent James (Jimmy), and his 100-year-old sister Carmela DiPasquale. He leaves behind his four remaining sisters: Marie Spinelli, Gloria DiPasquale, Edith Hendley, and Rose Anne Teristi, and numerous adoring nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
In the words of his niece Joyce:
“Our family lost one of its strongest, wisest lions. My dear Uncle Mikey was one of those rare people who was both deeply intelligent and street smart, who could talk to anyone about anything, who always had great stories, was always up for adventure. Beloved brother, father, grandfather, and friend to so so many, he is fiercely missed….an elegant, classy guy.”
Services and interment for Mikey will take place privately. Arrangements under the direction of the COSTANTINO-PRIMO FUNERAL HOME, BERLIN NJ. To leave lasting condolences or photos, please use the links on this page.