Michael “Mike” Rendine, 62, a leading force in the automotive retail business in New Jersey, passed away peacefully at Mount Sinai Hospital, NY, on Friday, February 17, 2023. He was surrounded by family and friends and was able to Facetime with nieces and nephews, all thanking him for his extraordinary example of a life well lived.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, from 4 – 8 p.m., at Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, NJ. Funeral services will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 23, 2023, at St. Ann Roman Catholic Church, 704 Jefferson St., Hoboken, NJ. The entombment will be at Fairview Cemetery, 500 Fairview Avenue, Fairview, NJ.
Mike was an Owner of Crystal Toyota – Mazda on Route 22 West, Green Brook, NJ. He put up a valiant fight against cancer for the past year, never once giving up on recovery. He was a rock for so many people and was surrounded by their love and tears when he decided he was ready to hit the open waters for the last time.
Mike was born March 21, 1960, in Bari, Italy, and sailed to New York with his family six years later aboard the SS Michelangelo. The family settled in Weehawken, NJ, where Mike stood out in sports. He was the quarterback for the Weehawken High School Indians football team, played tennis, and was a point guard for the basketball team. He attended Fairleigh Dickinson University on a full basketball scholarship.
While in college, he took a part-time job at Autoland as a sales representative on the weekends. His enthusiastic personality soon led him to the decision that this was the career he wanted, and he never looked back. Eventually, he would partner with Bob Nitabach as the owners of Crystal Automall.
With four siblings having children and all living close by, the family was growing. He purchased a small shore house in Toms River. Family members recall early visits in which they would sleep on the floors because the house was so tiny. Over the years, the little house was expanded many times to accommodate his growing list of friends and family. He loved crabbing on his dock and preparing fresh crab oreganata, especially with the help of his granddaughter, Vayda. Vayda lovingly referred to Mike as Nonno. Nonno and Vayda were a great team in the kitchen, and pizza was always on the menu. Tradition was important, especially Christmas Eve and the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes. Everyone knew Uncle Mike’s was the place to be for every major holiday. It was important to set an example: “Family comes first.”
He also enjoyed boating, traveling, golfing, the NY Yankees, and the J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS! But above all, the absolute love and light of his life were Tia Lynn and his grandchildren. He spent his final months surrounded by their love and laughter.
Mike is predeceased in death by his father, Luigi Rendine.
Mike leaves behind his mother, Lucia Vernola Rendine, and his daughter, Tia Lynn Rendine, son-in-law, Fernando Fuentes, and grandchildren, Vayda Lynn Fuentes and Rio Walter Fuentes.
He is also survived by loving immediate family, including his sister and her husband: Roseanne and Ray Rand, and their children Jason, Amanda, and Ray, Jr. from Warwick, NY; his brother and his wife: Dominick and Angela Rendine; and their children: Johnny, his godson, Anthony, Michael, and Fabiana from Weehawken, NJ; his sister and her husband, Tonia and Darrin Druzbik; and their children, Stephanie and Emily from Manalapan, NJ; and his brother and his wife, Alex and Maria Rendine; and their children: Michael and Nicholas, for whom Mike was also Godfather, from Rutherford, NJ. He also leaves behind his partner, Frances Moore of Weehawken, NJ.
Memorial contributions can be made in Michael Rendine’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In honor of his grandson Rio, contributions may also be made to The Children’s Heart Foundation.