In Memory

Mr. Alphonse DeFilippo

DeFILIPPO Alphonso L., of Englewood, Florida, 87, died on January 9, 2012.  Burial with full military honors will be held at Sarasota, FL National Cemetery.
 

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Gretchen; daughters Debra Amato (Patrick) of Ramsey, NJ, Donna Kendall (Jeffrey) of Belchertown, MA; Denise Brady (Raymond) of Dover, TN and son David DeFilippo (Jane) of Milton, MA. He is predeceased by Daughter Diane Tucker. He has six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Al was born in Paterson, NJ and raised in Fair Lawn, NJ. He graduated from East Side High School and served as a Staff Sergeant in the Army duringWWII, seeing action in the South Pacific. He graduated from Upsala College in East Orange, NJ with a degree in Education and completed his graduate work at Rutgers University. Al taught history at Paramus High School in Paramus, NJ for 30 years. He also coached varsity track and cross country including the 1962 undefeated track team. He was a Paramus Councilman from 1970 -1973. Al retired in 1980 and in 1984 moved to Florida where he enjoyed 28 wonderful years.



 
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01/14/12 02:55 PM #1    

Phil Fontana (1964)

       Mr. De/Coach/"Little Al"/"Alphonse" was referred to by many names because he was many things to many people. For our Fontana household, Mr. DeFilippo was as important to us as anyone in the family. It started with him being my Cross-Country Coach & making a runner out of a skinny boy.  Coach De was the task master & ran us hard in practices.  --Those "hill climbs"!  Freshman year I broke the freshman home course record. Sophomore year I earned my Varsity Letter as the Team's 5th man behind those great distance men ahead of me.  Junior year, Ken Finlay started nipping away  until he led the way to the finish line ahead of me through senior year.  When Coach De named me Co-Captain with Ken Finlay for senior year, he confessed to me that he never thought I would become the runner I was. But Coach De gave me the endurance & confidence that have served me all the years of my life in all that I have accomplished. Then came Track with Mr. Lanzalotto as Head Coach & Mr. De as Assistant Coach & his impact was magnified. Though I was not in his History class, I became a social studies teacher & principal. But many a Saturday morning workout for cross-country began with a bleary eyed Mr. De, who was up late Friday night reading, telling us about the book he was reading.
       I read with great interest about Mr. De's life in his obituary on the Funeral Home website.  I thought I knew all about him but never did he talk about his WWII service in the South Pacific to us. And it was truly a joy to see all the photos here documenting Mr. De's retirement years in Florida.
     We must celebrate Mr. DeFilippo's  life short in stature who lived the life of a giant to us all.

 

        Phil Fontana


01/20/12 11:46 AM #2    

Warren Earabino (1960)

First, he was Mr. DeFilippo...then he was Mr. D. That was in 8th grade at Memorial School and at PHS where I gave him more than his share of agita. I saw him as "Al" at his summer job at Rayco Car Seats on Spring Valley Road and Rt. 4. Then I found him again as Mr. D when he invited me to take a seat on his front steps and watch Paramus go by.
 Despite my stellar PHS record, I enjoyed the special privilege of joining Mr. D on the PHS faculty in 1973. He made sure that he was "Al" from then on. My teacher became my friend and mentor. I made no decisions, professional or personal, before I had a conversation with Al. He ended every conversation with "It's up to you, but that's what I think." I will miss him. If the politicians ever get serious about improving education in America, all they need to do is to research "Mutt and Jeff"...Lou Lanzalotta and Al DeFilippo. God bless Mr. D.
 
Warren Earabino (1960)

03/15/12 05:33 PM #3    

Henry Hensel (1963)


09/08/18 05:31 PM #4    

Kenny "Tash" Tashian (1964)

 

 

I knew "Mr. D" as a coach, teacher, mentor, and friend.  He was a person who genuinely cared about kids.  His years as a teacher was much more than a job for him, it was a passion.  

After high school, my friends and I would honk as we drove by his house on Ridgewood Avenue (just East of Highland Avenue).  If he was outside, he would wave us over to join him to sit on his front steps and watch the world go by.  It was amazing how many people would drive by, honk, wave, and yell, "Hey Mr. D."  It seemed as though everyone knew him, and they probably did.  He touched a lot of lives.

I spent many hours sitting on those front steps, just "hanging out" with him.  He was the first teacher that I got to know as a person, a fellow human being.  He was someone without pretense.  He was the genuine article, through and through.  He was smart, always upbeat, and an inspirational coach with a keen sense of humor.  Actually, he was hysterical.  We always shared a laugh or a grin.  His smile was contagious.

I am sad to hear that he is gone, yet I feel fortunate to have known him.  If you didn't, you missed out on something very special.

 


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