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Frank Campi

Frank Campi, 105, of Bergenfield passed away on June 7, 2014. Frank was born in a Province of Verona, Italy, Montecchia di Crosara, on February 20, 1909. He is the fifth of six children. His mother died in childbirth when Frank was only two years old. As a small child in Italy, Frank recalled seeing the World War I bi-planes in dogfights overhead. Frank came to Ellis Island with his family when he was ten years old, and became a U.S. citizen. His family settled in Spring Valley, NY. Frank served in the Army during World War II from March 23, 1942 to October 20, 1945. Frank contracted spinal meningitis as a soldier on the boat traveling to serve overseas. They gave him a one in ten chance of living. They quarantined him for some time, and he was lucky to recover. The meningitis actually saved his life, as his original platoon was replaced three times. Upon his recovery, the Army offered Frank a medical discharge, which he chose not to accept. He was reassigned and returned to finish his tour of duty serving his country throughout Europe. He served in the Infantry as a PFC and participated in the campaigns in Ardnnes; Central Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; GO 33 WD 45 as amended and was awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. Frank had been very active all of his life. He worked hard as a self-employed mason in the Bergenfield area till he finally retired at age 78. He celebrated his 105th birthday on February 20, 2014. He was in very good health for his age, and still lived in his own home in Bergenfield, where he resided for the past 57 years. His mind was still very sharp, and he was fully mobile. He still prepared his own meals, fixed things around the house, and had grown a vegetable garden in the warmer weather. He looked quite good for his age...more like someone in their 70's. Frank had always been an honest and kind-hearted family man who loved people and who still took an interest in the world around him. On a nice day, you could still find him walking in his Bergenfield neighborhood sharing his words of wisdom with all those he met. Frank married Rose DiBenedetto, a resident of Bergenfield, on October 3, 1953 at St. John the Evangelist R. C. Church in Bergenfield. Frank and Rose settled in Bergenfield in 1957 at 151 New York Avenue, where Frank continued to reside. They had two daughters, Roberta J. Baral and her husband James and Laura E. Graziano and her husband Joseph, who grew up in the borough, attended Bergenfield schools, and were both also married in St. John's Church. Frank's dear wife Rose passed away on May 23, 2004 at age 87. Frank was the loving grandfather of three wonderful grandchildren, Anthony Graziano, Cristina Benson and her husband Bradley, and Gregory Graziano. He was predeceased by his sisters, Sister Maria Campi and Stella Venezia and his brothers Novello, Louis and Julius Campi. The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM at Riewerts Memorial Home, 187 So. Washington Ave. Bergenfield. All will gather at the funeral home on Thursday at 9 AM for the Funeral Mass at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church, Bergenfield at 10 AM. Interment will follow at St. Anthony's Cemetery in Nanuet, NY. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Funeral Home: Riewerts Memorial Home 187 So. Washington Ave. Bergenfield, NJ US 07621

Previous Events

visitation
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Riewerts Memorial Home

187 South Washington Ave.
Bergenfield, NJ 07621

from 2-4 and 7-9 PM

cemetery
Thursday, June 12, 2014
St. Anthony's Cemetery

36 West Nyack Rd.
Nanuet, NY 10954

at 11:45 AM

service
Thursday, June 12, 2014
St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church

29 No. Washington Ave.
Bergenfield, NJ 07621

All will meet at the funeral home at 9 AM for the Funeral Mass at 10 AM


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Guestbook

Hi Roberta, Thank you for your response. I keep your father's picture on a shelf in my kitchen and read his words of wisdom each day. It helps me so much. He was really a special person.

Sandy Schultz Jul 8 2014 12:00 AM

Roberta and Laura, I'm so very sorry to hear that your dad passed away. What a wonderful, kind and selfless man he was. Growing up next to your parents left me with such beautiful memories of my childhood. I remember your dad teaching me how to whistle with a leaf, letting me help him cut his lawn with the non-gas mower, helping my parents after my dad cut his hand with a chainsaw, sharing his tomatoes, sitting in his blue truck, playing in the sandbox in his yard. I could go on... Ironically, I stopped by his house only a few weeks ago, days after he moved out. As I drove around the side of the house, I could see his blue truck, your dad tinkering in the yard in his sleeveless shirt talking to anyone who happened by, and your mom on the front porch. I was overcome with happiness and excitedly relayed stories of your father to my young children who were with me in the car. I so badly wanted them to meet your dad. The words above are a beautiful and fitting tribute to such a magnificent man. After reading it I wondered why I didn't know many of his accomplishments. Then I realized that wasn't who your dad was. He would rather talk about you then himself. What a beautiful legacy he has left for us all. I hope your family finds comfort in the memories he has left us all with. Love, Jill Murray

Jill Murray Jun 12 2014 12:00 AM

To the Campi family, I extend my deepest sympathy on the loss of your father and grandfather. I am a landscaper who worked for years in the neighborhood of Frank's home. I had often heard stories about him but did not meet him until about 9 years ago. One day I saw a fellow in a sun hat walk by and on a whim, I asked him if he was Frank Campi. He was surprised that I knew his name. I went one better and told him I knew his age too. I told him his neighbors kept me informed. We spoke at length that day and for the next 9 years, many times when I was in the neighborhood to cut lawns or do the snow, I would check on him (and sometimes he would check on me dozing in the truck while my employees worked) and we would have a chat. I learned about his life, his family (of which he was so proud) and advice on things like gardening and life in general. He met my girlfriend and would ask about her often, remembering her name even though he had only met her once or twice. I have many elderly customers and sometimes, when faced with adversity and they were down in the dumps, I referred to Frank's life and age and told them to stay positive like Frank. It usually gave them inspiration. One time, a couple of years ago, Frank showed me his newly turned garden. I made the mistake of asking him who turned it over for him. He said, "I did". Foolish me to ask such a question. But that was Frank, independent to the end. He was an honest, caring, interesting and certainly humble man who had seen and been through a lot in life and was always happy to see me and chat. I will certainly miss Frank and our chats. Bergenfield has lost a real treasure. With sincere sympathy, Bob Hubbard and Dotty Roth

bob Jun 12 2014 12:00 AM

Hi Sandy -- it's Roberta, Frank's daughter. It's been a long time since we were neighbors, but I remember you well! As we navigate our way through my Dad's services, I was so touched to read your remembrance of the place he held in your life. He truly was a gem, and it's heartwarming to know how much he meant to so many, and how much we'll all miss him. Thank you so much.

Roberta Baral Jun 12 2014 12:00 AM

Thank you, Mayor, our entire family appreciates your thoughts. And thank you for confirming that he actually was the oldest resident in Bergenfield. We are proud, and will miss him dearly. Roberta Baral

Roberta Baral Jun 12 2014 12:00 AM

Hi Karen. This is Roberta, Frank's oldest daughter. After just returning from my Dad's wake I was brought to tears by your beautiful recollections of my Dad's life's work and how he touched the lives of three generations of your family. It is truly a testament of what a wonderful man he was and why so many who have known him will continue to love him so. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Love, Roberta

Roberta Baral Jun 12 2014 12:00 AM

I am sorry to hear the passing of our oldest resident. My condolences to the entire family and all of his friends. Norman Schmelz Mayor - Borough of Bergenfield

Norman Schmelz - Mayor Jun 12 2014 12:00 AM

Dear Laura and Joe Tony and I are so sorry to hear of your Dads passing. We admired him as if we knew him. And only thru you we did. We would tell others about him with admiration. We will always have that mental image of that picture of him dancing with your daughter at her wedding. Priceless! Our sincere sympathy! Antonio & Stephanie

Antonio & Stephanie Petritsis Jun 11 2014 12:00 AM

In 1955 my Dad and my Nonno pooled their money to buy a two family brick house at 87 Charles St. in Dumont. The goal was my parents and four children would live on the first floor and Nonno, Nonna and her maiden sister would share the second floor apartment. To accomplish this it was necessary to add a second bedroom and a living room upstairs. At the time, Louis Campi was a well known champion bowler from town. Word of mouth was his brothers were excellent brick masons. Dad hired Frank and Julius who not only perfectly matched the brick but also the mortar!! For all the years we lived in that house Dad proudly defied anyone, family and friends alike, to point out where the original structure ended and the addition began. No one could. He referred others regularly to use your father/grandfather Frank for all masonry work. Your beloved Frank was an exceptional craftsman, a true artisan. Our former home stands as a lasting reminder of his skill and attention to detail. Plus, though I was only an 8 year old girl back then, I remember he was patient and kindly when my curiosity led me to pester him with questions about his craft. Reading of his passing and the beautiful description of his long life I felt compelled to share this recollection with you. My posthumous thanks to Frank for sharing his skill and helping to enable three generations of our family to live comfortably under one roof for over 28 years. May I add a special thank you to him as well for his brave participation in the Normandy invasion and subsequent battles in WWII that saved our country. I'm sure God has a front row seat in Heaven reserved for him.

Karen (Monti) Valvanis Jun 11 2014 12:00 AM

When I lived in Bergenfield, Frank Campi was my neighbor. He was always kind, generous and helpful. Frequently he would help me with my lawn and yardwork. Every Christmas, he would leave a large bottle of Chianti at my door. He was always there to talk to (he listened as well as talked) and frequently advised me on how to better handle my tumultuous life. Although I thought of him frequently, ironically, I had been thinking of him especially this last week. And then saw the sad news in the paper about his passing on June 7th. I am sad to say I probably did not appreciate him as much as I should have. He was a great guy and you couldn't ask for a better neighbor.

Sandy Schultz Jun 11 2014 12:00 AM

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