American Veteran 04

Louis T Giordano

August 7, 2020



Louis (Luigi) Giordano was born November 6, 1930 and grew up “Down Neck” on 57 Madison St. Newark N.J. decades before zip codes. Family was everywhere and everything. Each day was spent surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents: The Pucciarelli clan, The Brunos, De Metros and The La Falces all who lived in the same building nearby on E. Kinney St. Lou enjoyed spending every day of his young life surrounded by his extensive family morning, afternoon and evening.

Louie was the only child of Salvatore (Sam) and Frances Giordano of Newark who both worked in different factories during That Not-So-Great, for most, Depression (a precious gift in those rough times). He was escorted each day to Sacred Heart Elementary School by his loving “aunt” Niki who was only 6 years his senior. She remained more of a sister to him, until her death 2015 at the age of 91.   

After school was spent with his grandparents Vincenzo and Santa Pucciarelli and aunt Liz Bruno who owned the neighborhood grocery store. His mom and dad joined him at the Pucciarelli home each night after work for dinner. Afterwards they all walked the 3 blocks home together.

In 1944 his parents paid $7000 for the 3 family house at 87 Tremont Ave in the Vailsburg section—the westernmost part of Newark. Along with his immediate family his grandparents, aunts and uncles all moved with them. A few months later with WWII still raging, the Serrani family from Stone Street in Newark’s First Ward—the other Italian section of town— moved next door, to 85 Tremont Ave filling the three floors in their large stucco house. Just a few years later Lou began dating the middle child of the 7 Serrani children—Isabelle. Lou and the blonde haired, blue-eyed girl next door began dating on her 16th birthday and soon became inseparable. They were engaged in 1951 before Lou went off to serve his country in Korea, the day following his 21st birthday. He spent his time there in the heavy gun artillery unit of the 187th Infantry regiment which was part of the 101st Airborne Division.

Following his return home in 1952, Lou and Izzie resumed their love affair. Their new moniker shared by both families was now Romeo & Juliette.  They were married on May 8, 1955 and his already large surrounding tribe now included the extended family next door. He developed a special bond with Izzie’s brother Phillip (aka Benny Rube/Spook). Lou and Izzie moved to the second floor of 87 Tremont Ave and the other relatives moved upstairs. In July of 1956 they welcomed their first child. A boy. Surprise!!! And a girl. Two for one. Enter Jerry and Lynn. Three years later Sandy showed up. Then in 1960 the family moved all the way to Belleville, eight miles up the then new GS Parkway. There Gigi joined the brood. That remained the family home until 1993 when Lou and Izzie moved to Timberhill Dr. in East Hanover where they lived together until Izzie’s death in 2017. Throughout their 70 years together Romeo and Juliette amassed 8 grandkids…Lyndsay and Louie Bray, Hugo, Zane and Harper Giordano, Kayla and Ryan Vackner and Isabella Durante. The tree then branched off to Great Grandchildren—Jesse Jr. and Kadence George and the newest twig on the family tree Leo Bray. To all of them he was and will forever be just POPPY.

Throughout his early life Lou had many jobs to sustain his growing litter. Including—but not limited to—stints at Reynolds Aluminum factory, the Post Office, a wedding photographer, selling hot dogs out of his hot dog truck, along with a few even he chose to forget. Then, thanks to his sister-like aunt Niki, Lou was granted the pizza concession at McCrory’s dept store on Broad Street in downtown Newark. From the early 1960’s till the middle 1990’s he sold pizza to the multitudes who worked and shopped downtown. He retired from the pizza biz to spend time with Izzie who retired soon after from the Belleville School System, after 25+ years running the Title One program and other supervisory roles.

Known for their annual July 4th poolside extravaganzas in E. Hanover, they also played host to the traditional Thanksgiving feasts Lou and Izzie inherited from his parents after their deaths in the early 1970’s. Both traditions were chockfull of the obligatory inordinate quantities of Italian food and something even more important—hoards of relatives, friends and any members of the family tree who wanted to plant themselves for endless hours at Timberhill Dr. And every Sunday that wasn’t the 4th of July or the 4th Thursday in November, the house was always full of relatives, adult children and their tax deductions along with great grandkids, whenever possible. One thing anyone who visited could count on was attentiveness, conversation, playful banter and a guaranteed hug and kiss hello and goodbye from Lou/Poppy who lived for these interactions.

The most consistent thing in his life has always been relationships. Lou cherished them. And not only with his family but with everyone. He always was an equal opportunity relationship curator. An Italian American Catholic born in 1930, Lou never exhibited prejudice, bias, judgement or intolerance. His best friends at work were black and Polish. He also was the friend and confidant of a flamboyantly gay Puerto Rican man. He would often find himself at his Chinese friend’s restaurant or visiting his Jewish friend at his dry cleaner. Lou wasn’t a professor of International Relations who preached acceptance and tolerance from a podium. He was a hard-working high school graduate. A simple man with simple needs and an even plainer mantra—give love, show affection and be there for everyone when they need you. He saw himself in everyone and everyone in himself.

The things that count the most in life can’t be counted. So, it’s not how many toys you have in the end, not how big the house you left behind was. Not how many commas your portfolio boasts or how many deals contained your John Hancock scribbled on the bottom of the page.

What counts is how much love you spread, how many lives you touched and how many people are richer having met you during your relatively short human voyage. All who knew Lou were so much better for having known him.

Louis T. Giordano left us on August 7, 2020 after 89 years, 9 months and a day. He leaves behind a lasting legacy of compassion and acceptance. The love he shared with everyone he ever touched will live on inside us all. If he had one last wish, it would be not for all of us who knew him to gaze backward and cry for his passing. But instead to accept all people as he did. Show compassion as he did. And most importantly: Pay the Love Forward as he always did.

Funeral services were held privately.  

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