~~Peter A. Colaizzo Sr., a longtime area resident and a native of Italy, passed away peacefully with his family at his side on Monday, May 2, at Morristown Medical Center, after a lengthy illness. He was 87.
Pete was born on June 24, 1928, in Rosello, Chieti, Italy. He spent his early childhood years in Italy before moving to the Bronx in 1935. He proudly served his country in the US Army from 1950 through 1952 in Europe and was honorably discharged with the rank of corporal. He fondly remembered his years of service and stayed in touch with his Army buddies through the years. On July 16, 1955, he married the love of his life, Isabella, to whom he was married for more than 60 years. They remained devoted to each other to the end, and she survives him at home.
After starting their lives together and their family in the Bronx, Pete and Isabella moved to Hanover Township, New Jersey, in 1963. Family was the center of his life, and he was proud of his four children and eight grandchildren who survive him: Robert Colaizzo and his wife Carol of Caldwell; Richard Colaizzo of Morris Plains; Lucy Nicolai of Myrtle Beach, SC; Peter Colaizzo Jr. and his wife Heidi of Hyde Park, NY. He adored his eight grandchildren: Douglas and Brigette Colaizzo; Michael, Matthew and Mark Nicolai; Joseph, Natalie and James Colaizzo.
Pete worked his entire career as a civil and mechanical engineer for Foster Wheeler Corporation, starting in 1946 and retiring in 1993 after 47 years of dedicated service. He received his engineering degree at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, studying at night while supporting and raising his family at home, which included his mother, his grandmother, his uncle and cousins. During those years, he was the undisputed leader of a very busy, noisy and crowded household filled with love, laughter and lots of food and drink.
During his spare time, Pete enjoyed working with wood. Trips to the “lumber yard” or hardware stores were treated with reverence. He was equally at home in his workshop as he was presiding over the dinner table for family meals, which always included a nice glass of wine. He was proud of his woodworking projects, building furniture for his family and undergoing renovation projects at the family’s house. He also enjoyed coin and stamp collecting, and for many years played in a bowling league after work.
Pete and Isabella raised their family with loving care in Cedar Knolls for more than 40 years. In their retirement, they moved to a smaller home in nearby Whippany, and just a few months ago they relocated to an assisted living facility, Brookdale in Florham Park. Their love story was a thing of beauty, one that they quietly toasted on the 16th of each and every month during their 60-plus years together.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 8 at Bradley-Braviak Funeral Home, 49 Whippany Road, Whippany, NJ 07981. A Mass for Christian Burial will be celebrated at Notre Dame of Mount Carmel Church, 75 Ridgedale Avenue, Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927, on Monday, May 9, at 10 a.m.