July 21, 1931 - April 11, 2020
Rocco Sgarlato, Jr. passed away peacefully on April 11th, 2020 at 88 years old. He was a devoted husband of 65 years to Mary Ann who he is survived by, as well as a loving father to, Rocco III, Vincent and Rosanne; a caring grandfather to Kristen, Stephen, Michael Rocco and Luca and loving father-in-law to Beth and Mike. Rocco was born and raised in Brooklyn on President Street. He met Mary Ann at a neighborhood Club dance and always said “If I didn’t marry you I wouldn’t have married anyone else.” They raised their family in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn. Starting at age 21 and over a span of 50 years, he owned and operated several restaurants and pizzerias: Rocky’s Diner in North Arlington NJ, Za Za’s Pizza in Brooklyn, Sgarlato’s Pizza in Willowbrook Mall, NJ and Paramus Park Mall, NJ, La Piazza in the Staten Island Mall NY and Sgarlato’s Café in the South Street Seaport in NYC. In 1971, Rocco appeared on an episode of "To Tell the Truth" demonstrating the art of pizza making in support of Thomas Cicarrelli, Executive Director of the North American Pizza Association - who was one of the contestants. At Sgarlato’s at the Seaport, Rocco was proud to have a menu in seven languages. And Rocco’s smile spoke the universal language of grace, hospitality and kindness that welcomed people from all over the world into his restaurant. After 25 years and the aftermath of 9/11, Rocco closed Sgarlato’s Café and reluctantly retired at the age of 70. The Sgarlatos moved to their Lake Mohawk home to enjoy peaceful lake views and friendly strollers on the bridal path. An immediate connection to people was his innate gift; his radiant warmth and touch of his hand when he spoke to you will always be remembered by neighbors, bank tellers, postal workers, local shop keepers and his hair salon. A role model and friend to his children, they are grateful to him for always being available and supportive and teaching them about Frank Sinatra, baseball and the art of being a business man. Lovingly called ‘Poppy’ by his grandchildren, they remember him for endless love and fun times of boat rides, barbecues, water skiing lessons, pizza making and gardening. The white fig tree Rocco took care of from Italy has now been passed on to his grandson who promises to be yielding figs soon. Rocco lived his 88 years enjoying life and above all loving his family and will always be an inspiration. If friends wish to honor Rocco’s memory the family would be grateful for donations to the Epilepsy Services of New Jersey dedicated to improving the quality of life for people affected by epilepsy. Donations will support the Seizure Recognition First Aid Training Program and the Medication Assistance Fund and can be made online at https://epilepsyservicesnj.org or mailed to: Epilepsy Services of NJ, 50 Millstone Road, Building 300 Suite 201, East Windsor, NJ 08520. A memorial service and lakefront celebration will take place when the world becomes a safe place again.
Rocco Sgarlato, Jr. passed away peacefully on April 11th, 2020 at 88 years old. He was a devoted husband of 65 years to Mary Ann who he is survived by, as well as a loving father to, Rocco III, Vincent and Rosanne; a caring grandfather to... View Obituary & Service Information
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