Anthony J. Gaetano, 77, of Little Silver, passed away peacefully after a brief illness on Saturday, July 30 at Jersey Shore Medical Center surrounded by his immediate family.
For over 70 years, Anthony immensely enjoyed boating and swimming the waters of the Shrewsbury River and Atlantic Ocean.
Growing up in Monmouth Beach, he raced skiffs in the Shrewsbury River and then lifeguarded at the Monmouth Beach Bathing Pavilion for over a decade. Later settling in Little Silver in 1978, Anthony loved taking his family out for cruises on the Shrewsbury River. He took pride in the number of nor’easters and hurricanes that he witnessed firsthand both in Monmouth Beach and Little Silver. Asked at any time, he usually knew the tide, prevailing winds and marine forecast. Every winter, usually sitting around the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables, he would eagerly plan out the next summer’s boating and beach adventures with his beloved grandchildren Emma, Daniel, Luke and Alice.
Anthony was born in Bayonne to the late Dominick and Beatrice (Tocci) Gaetano. He played football at Red Bank Catholic High School and then graduated from Villanova University in 1961. After a lengthy training program at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, he worked as a banker specializing in mortgage finance at Shadow Lawn Savings and Loan in West Long Branch from 1964 to 1994. He was chief under writer at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency in Trenton from 1995 to 2002.
Anthony applied his meticulous and devoted working habits to his religious and family life. A communicant of St. James Catholic Church for over 40 years, he quietly attended multiple services each week during retirement. A dedicated mariner, Anthony could often be found perfecting his current boat’s working condition in all seasons. He spent years designing and supervising the construction of his last two motorboats, one of which was destroyed by Super Storm Sandy. With an unwavering attention to details, he could sit for endless hours assembling Lionel trains or complicated toys for his grandchildren’s enjoyment. Never a fan of flying despite years of business trips, he loved long distance car or train travel as soothing alternatives. Anthony was an unflappable mentor to his son and son-in-law in all aspects of home maintenance and repair.
Lynn Kelly Gaetano, his loving wife for 48 years, sur vives him, as do two children, Dominick Gaetano and his wife Meghan of Little Silver and Kara Babashak and her husband James of Wilton, Connecticut. Also surviving are two sisters, Catherine Greene and husband Ronald of Oceanport and Ellen Skowrenski and her husband Robert of Oakhurst; and a brother-in-law, Charles Kelly and his wife Debra of Middletown. Anthony also leaves many nieces, nephews and cousins in his extended family, as well as numerous friends gained over seven decades living and working in coastal Monmouth County.
Anthony’s four grandchildren will miss his unconditional love for them. Whether it was praising a Crayola drawing, giving a bear hug, casting a fishing line, reading a story, picking them up from school, walking the beach, secretly going for ice cream or just sharing a nap, “Poppy” relished every moment of his 14 years of grand-fatherhood.
Visitation will take place at John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 5. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 6 at St. James Church, 94 Broad Street, Red Bank. Burial will follow at Woodbine Cemetery in Oceanport.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Anthony’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105.
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