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Joey Cirruzzo shows off a birthday gift, a magazine from his racing days as driver Joe Black. The gift was given to him at a surprise 75th birthday party in June 2013.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Mourners bid a final farewell on Monday, Dec. 2, to veteran operator and industry leader Joseph “Joey” Cirruzzo Sr., who died Nov. 27 at age 75 after a battle with cancer.
LCT CIRRUZZO OBITUARY HERE
Cirruzzo’s casket was surrounded with floral bouquets from family and limousine operator’s from across the globe. In addition to flowers, three memorial vestments were donated to Catholic churches in remembrance of Joey — one white, one gold and one purple. They were displayed at his viewing and have been donated to the Catholic Church.
Joey orchestrated the arrangements prior to his funeral. “I am going to make my own plans,” he said. “When you come, you will know that I planned it all.”
The funeral service was held at the, Our Lady Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church, that his grandson Charles attended in conjunction with his school. Father Pancrose Kalist officiated over the service. He said, “When I kneeled to pray over Joseph in his casket, I noticed two gold charms attached to his jacket. One said “Number One Father” and the other said “Best Grandfather.” We should all aspire to be the best father and best grandfather. Jesus taught us to be like his father and his family knows that Joseph was.”
Joey for years told this writer that Dav El CEO and NLA board director Scott Solombrino would do his eulogy. Joey also had a contingency plan. “If Scott can’t do it, you will need to,” he told me. Solombrino’s flight from Boston was cancelled the morning of Joey’s funeral. He was devastated not to be able to attend. Scott, who is also a Catholic, believed in the same funeral ritual that Joey did. He was beside himself when he couldn’t get into New York.
Graveside, Joey was buried in the family plot. Joey’s companion, Kathy, stood solemnly as her cousin carried out yet another wish of Joey’s. He began singing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” As the crowd laid roses on his casket there was not a dry eye in the crowd.
After the service, the funeral procession wound through the streets of Staten Island. The cars paused to stop in front of Joey’s home where the undertaker laid a yellow rose on the doorstep. At the window, stood Joey’s beloved Snowgirl who also had one final chance to say goodbye to her best friend. Snowgirl will soon join Joey as she too has been diagnosed with liver cancer, and has been given only a short while to live.
Family and friends headed to Nucci’s Restaurant for a funeral luncheon. Joey had picked the menu: An appetizer of eggplant rottolini as well as clams casino, mussels’ casino and a stuffed mushroom. It was followed by the pasta course which was ziti with vodka sauce. On the table appeared a huge dish of calamari with two sauces, oyster and primavera. Five courses of main dishes were given to those in attendance. From fish to chicken, the dishes were overwhelming. The final course was dessert of Joey’s favorite bread pudding.
David Eckstein from Valera Global reminisced about other meals he had shared with Joey. “The only thing missing here is the spaghetti and meatballs. That was truly Joey’s favorite. I can’t remember a time when we went out together and he didn’t order that.”
TerriAnn Gladden from Corporate Sedan was very melancholy as she sat alone at the bar. “I am taking a moment to remember Joey. He ate here and loved this place. I know he is probably watching us. I can feel his presence."
CIRRUZZO EULOGY REMARKS HERE
-- Linda Jagiela, LCT contributing writer