Obituary of Anthony Solazzo M.D.
Anthony Solazzo M.D. passed away on December 19th, 2020. Anthony was born in Passaic, NJ on November 15th, 1932 to Giuseppina and Antonio Solazzo. A true Renaissance man, Anthony was an accomplished doctor, a successful entrepreneur, an admired artisan, a gourmet cook, and the beloved patriarch to three generations of exceptional family members and friends. He led a remarkably unique life full of countless achievements. Born to Italian immigrants, he was raised in a small NJ apartment where his parents' Sicilian dialect was spoken in the home. At a young age, he worked as a delivery boy for a butcher shop, where he dreamed of one day having a house with a garden where he could grow vegetables. Even then he had a burgeoning passion for food, something he would foster his entire life. Anthony began his professional journey in a trade school learning to be a lathe operator, but he quickly realized there was a different path available to him. Always looking to better himself, he enrolled in Hanover College in Indiana, studying chemistry. Showing his entrepreneurial character, he supplemented his income by introducing and selling his homemade pizzas to students and the local community. This endeavor was a great success, despite the fact that in the 50’s it was impossible to find mozzarella in Indiana, and the pizza had to be made with cheddar cheese. Upon graduation from college he was drafted into the U.S. Army where his chemistry background earned him a position in a lab. When Anthony was discharged, his curiosity led him to try his hand at a number of different trades, including as a woodcutter in Pennsylvania, before finally opening a pizzeria in Oakland, NJ. It was during this period that he made one of the most important decisions of his life. At the age of 31 he was accepted at the University of Bologna to study medicine. He moved his young family there and graduated in just six years. His time in Italy would have a profound impact on him, and it always remained a place of inspiration throughout his long life. Anthony’s relentless determination led him to have a very successful career as a urological surgeon at Muhlenberg Hospital. A creative, ingenious person, he walked through the world in constant search of ways to make it a better place. For him, even the most tedious tasks were seen simply as opportunities to be optimized and made more efficient. Forever fascinated by the possibilities in the medical field, he spent hours upon hours in thought and experimentation, developing new products, and ultimately creating a successful medical device company where many of his products earned patents. In addition to Anthony's accomplishments in medicine and business, he unfailingly pursued his passions, many having to do with Italian art, culture, and cuisine. Among the many ways he showed his love for his family and friends was through the preparation and enjoyment of great food. A connoisseur of cuisines from all over the world, and an accomplished cook in his own right, he took immense pride in sharing different delicacies with those close to him. Never far from his Italian heritage, his proudest moments were preparing traditional Sicilian specialties from recipes passed down from his mother, which he guarded with the proper vigilance that such treasures demand. Taking great care to pass these on to his own children, the recipes always came with the command that they are to be shared with “family only!” Anthony was an artisan and collector. He spent hours in his workshop - creating stained glass windows and chandeliers, constructing just about anything from wood, tinkering with his grandchildren and otherwise finding ways to design efficiencies for everyday living. His home symbolized all of this, along with his love of art and antiques - every room and every wall adorned with beautiful works of art and craftsmanship. Later in life, he became passionate about his multi-acre garden, which included the finest flora, fountains, and art, set in a formal Renaissance style. While always happy to be in the home he and his beloved wife Gina had created, Anthony also enjoyed seeing the world, traveling often to exotic locales. From the south of France to the Norwegian fjords, he and Gina shared many wonderful moments together in remarkable places. Among the most special trips were the regular adventures to his favorite fishing destination with his best friend, Herb. Whether on the couch with a yellow sketchpad, in the kitchen with a knife the size of a sword, or in his workshop, there were few moments where he wasn’t somewhere in the process of creation. His final, unfinished project would be the design of a novel mask, developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. He will always be remembered by those close to him as a caring, compassionate individual. He demanded perfection from himself and those around him, simply because he wanted to show the world what can be achieved with determination, focus and hard work. Anthony would often say, “When you go, if you left more than you took, you were a success.” His spirit is carried on by his wife of 19 years, Gina, whom he loved profoundly, and whose unending care and devotion to him knew no bounds...and never will; his children Robyn Solazzo Klein, Scott Solazzo, Chris Solazzo, Lisa Solazzo, Anthony Solazzo, and Jennifer Ricci. His Daughter-in-law Jessica Smith, his son-in-law Brian Lesser, daughter-in-law Manuela Barbaresco and son-in-law Fred Ricci, as well as his grandchildren Kevin Klein, Sofia Klein Simmons, Liliana Klein, Nicholas Solazzo, Isaac Lesser, Matthias Lesser, Vivienne Lesser, Lucas Ricci, Roman Ricci and great granddaughter Ella Rose Simmons. He is also survived by his sisters Mary Saykanic and Vivian Martin. He was predeceased by daughter-in-law Connie Solazzo. Due to the extraordinary circumstances throughout the world, the family has chosen to have a private ceremony on December 28, 2020. A memorial mass and celebration of Anthony’s life will be held at a later date. Donations can be made in Anthony’s name to the Salvation Army.