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Obituary of Dr. Vito D. Ferrante
Dr. Vito Domenico Ferrante passed away suddenly on Friday, March 16, 2018 at St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville, just a couple weeks shy of his 90th birthday.
Vito was born on April 4, 1928 in Camden, New Jersey to the late Pasquale and Filomena Ferrante, who had journeyed to the United States in (YEAR). His parents returned to their native Italy in 1932, with Vito, and his two sisters, Adriana and Rita. Vito grew up in the small southern town of Corato, where his two brothers, Gennaro and Pino, were born. As a child he had many friends, and he enjoyed playing soccer much more than studying, although Latin and Italian were his favorite subjects. He described himself as a restless youth with a stormy adolescence, seeking to find his own way in the world.
In 1947, on the advice of his parents and teachers, he enrolled in the University of Genoa Medical School. At the age of 21, when he had to choose between a United States or Italian citizenship, he and his sister Rita returned to the United States. Vito worked as a delivery boy for Lou Farucci, his cousin Nancy’s husband. Working for someone else didn’t suit him, and Vito soon wanted to return to Italy.
In order to keep his United States passport, however, Vito needed to stay in the country for the Korean War draft, and he enlisted in the United States Army. Although he never deployed to Korea, Vito was very proud of his Army service as a paratrooper. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the airborne division. A year later, he was transferred to San Antonio, Texas to train as a medical technician. In 1953, he was honorably discharged from the Army.
Vito returned to Italy to finish his medical degree, this time at the University of Padova. With the freedom of young adulthood, Vito was vivacious and gregarious, and he was always surrounded by many friends. In October of 1954, he met Mirella (‘Miri’) Dell’Antone at a party, switching name tags so he could sit next to her. They married on August 25, 1958, just a few months shy of his medical school graduation, a scandal in their time. He called Miri his ‘inspiration’.
In December of 1958, Vito and Miri boarded the Mauritania and embarked on the five day adventurous journey to New York by ship. They first lived in New York with Vito’s cousins, Lou and Nancy Farucci, before striking out on their own. In 1960, their first son, Daniel Paul, was born in New York.
Vito and Mirella settled in northern New Jersey in 1961, the year their second son, Maurice Andrew, was born. In 1965, their daughter Lydia was born. In 1970, they moved to Mountain Lakes to raise their children.
Vito started his private medical practice in Rockaway, NJ. With the help of many friends and colleagues, Vito established a very successful practice as a family doctor. He also served as the President of the medical staff at St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville, NJ for two terms, helping steer the merger of St. Clare’s and Riverside hospitals. He retired after thirty years in private practice, well-known as a dedicated and kind doctor to this community. For the next five years, Vito worked as a school physician in local school districts, and as a physician at La Familia, an indigent care clinic sponsored by St. Clare’s hospital.
Vito cared deeply about his family, and worked hard on their behalf. Vacations were most often spent in Italy, visiting relatives, but the family also shared vacations in Florida and the Caribbean islands. Vito and Mirella liked to travel alone as well. In addition to many trips to Italy, they visited many sites in the United States, and Europe.
When he had free time, Vito enjoyed his garden in their house in Mountain Lakes, especially the dahlias and roses. He also enjoyed having meals with family and friends, playing cards, collecting coins, completing Italian crossword puzzles, and savoring his wine and cigars.
Vito is survived by his wife, Mirella, his children and their spouses, Daniel (Cristina), Maurice (Jeanne) and Lydia (Phil), and grandchildren: Nicholas, Marisa, Ryan, Lucas, Katrina, Nina, Talia and Angelo. In Italy, he has surviving sisters Adriana and Rita, and a brother Gennaro, along with many caring nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, March 24th at 2 pm with public visitation taking place from 1 – 2 pm at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, 15 Myers Ave., Denville, NJ 07834. Memorial Donations are being accepted in his memory to St. Clare’s Hospital by way of www.inmemoryof-memorial.org.
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