Visitation at Funeral Home
Obituary of Carmine James Lefanto
Our father Carmine James Lefanto was many things to many people….
He was a loving Son
Born on July 16, 1930, in Jersey City, NJ to Antoinette and Joseph Lefanto,
Dad grew up in Jersey City alongside his siblings Rose, John, Michael & Ann.
He was a proud Marine
At the age of 18, Dad answered the call to service and enlisted with the USMC, where he proudly served his country and fought in the Korean War. As a Marine, Dad loved to regale us with his many stories - like how he kept his beer cold by digging a deep hole under his bunk or how, while heading home on a service ship he celebrated his 22nd birthday twice because he passed through the International dateline. We often rolled our eyes at Dad’s stories, but I know we will miss them.
The discipline, focus, and strength that the service instilled in my father would serve him very well throughout his life.
He was a devoted Husband and Father
After being honorably discharged from service, Dad returned home to Jersey City where he eventually met Jane Marie Sutton, who he would later call his wife for 42 years. Dad was a devout husband and a supportive father and together he and our Mom raised the four of us – Carmine, Michael, Jane, and Susan.
As the family grew, Dad moved us to North Plainfield, NJ, where he built the beautiful house he would live in for the next 59 years.
He was a great Uncle and eventually a Great-Uncle too
We grew up next door to my Aunt Rose and Uncle Pete (Aunt Rose still lives there today).
What a great childhood we had. The four of us along with my 5 cousins – Rosanne, Dona, Mary, Peter, and Joe shared more happy memories than I can recount. So many holidays and every important life event were celebrated together.
As life went on, our family continued to grow and we welcomed our sister-in-law Pam (Cernuto) Lefanto, my husband Robert Puckett, and our brother-in-law Philip Andreoli.
Dad welcomed each one into our family and treated all with the same love and kindness.
He was a beloved Grandfather
Dad really enjoyed being a grandfather to Bettina & Phil Bergamo, Jessica & Jack Barnett, Michael & Rita Lefanto, and Jeffrey & Taryn Puckett, Gina & Dave Legora, and Philip & Noelle Andreoli. He liked to brag about his grandchildren’s many accomplishments – to anyone who was willing to listen to him.
He was an adoring Great-Grandfather
Dad was thrilled to become a great-grandfather to Lucas, Stella and Henry Bergamo, Lucas and Mia Legora, and Philip Andreoli. I think he never imagined he would live long enough to become a great-grandfather, which made the experience that much sweeter.
When our Mom died in August 1997, no one felt that loss more deeply than my father.
The hole she left in all our lives was very difficult to fill.
In time, Dad found love and companionship again with Mary (Wojno), who sadly preceded him in death on Feb. 17, 2022.
He was a hard worker
Our Dad worked for Home Owners Heaven, Inc., 6 days a week, for more than 50 years!
Dad was the hardest working man I ever knew! If not at work then he was at home working on some project around the house. Or he was at my house helping with the latest home improvement or renovation. Dad loved to tinker around the house and kept his workbench and workspace pristine. Any size screw, nail, or bolt can still be found in my Dad’s basement, carefully labeled in a coffee can on the shelf.
Dad believed any job worth doing was worth doing well and his incredible work ethic has been passed on to all of us.
He was always the best-dressed guy in the room
Whether heading out to Shop Rite, a doctor’s appointment, lunch with the ladies, or to a chemotherapy appointment, our Dad never left the house unless his collared shirt and pants were pressed, and his shoes polished!
He enjoyed life
Dad belonged to the Italian American Social Club, the American Legion, and the Traveling Seniors. He loved to read, make and drink homemade wine, go out for lunch, and/or dinner at some of his local favorites – Pepe’s, Bruno’s, Marino’s, and Jozanna’s.
Dad loved to watch reruns of Mash, Dr. Pol, Critter Fixers, and any other Nature or Wildlife show he could find.
He was the strongest man we ever knew
Our Dad faced many health challenges in his lifetime but met each of them with strength and grace. He battled ulcerative colitis most of his life, survived a fall from a ladder to a concrete floor, had vein bypass surgery…….
When diagnosed just a few years ago with lymphoma, I had the privilege of bringing my Dad to many of his chemotherapy appointments. Although I hated that my father had cancer, I am very grateful for the time I spent with him. Dad had some setbacks but fought hard and eventually beat cancer.
Dad’s final diagnosis came in December, a glioblastoma, a very aggressive brain tumor.
Once again Dad was ready to roll up his sleeves and work hard – Surgery? Chemotherapy? Radiation? Unfortunately, the answer to all was “no”, there was nothing they could do.
On December 30 we brought Dad home into a hospice where he eventually passed peacefully on March 6, 2022.
We will miss our Dad dearly and honor him daily with all that he taught us. We know that he was welcomed into heaven with loving arms and a firm embrace. He is reunited with those that passed before him, and we have every confidence that there was a great celebration to welcome him.
I read recently “…do not seek to “not be sad”, during this time of loss. Sadness is one of the heart’s ways of honoring another. So too is happiness. You honor the soul of your beloved by feeling your happiness fully too, when the day and time for that comes – as surely it will.”
A visitation will be held on Monday, March 14, 2022, from 4 - 8 p.m. at Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, NJ. A funeral mass will be held on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in North Plainfield, NJ. He will be laid to rest at Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains, NJ.
Memorial donations can be made to:
Dome Restoration Project
St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church
99 Westervelt Ave
North Plainfield, NJ 07060
We, the Higgins family, for over 135 years and four generations, have been privileged to serve the families and the community as a whole with professional service and personal attention.
752 Mountain Blvd
Watchung, NJ 07069
Steve Szczubelek, Manager