Gaetano Thomas (Tom) Occhipinti, aged 83, beloved husband, father and grandfather passed away peacefully on August 5, 2017.
Tom was born to the late Salvatore and Carmela Neddra (LaRosa) Occhipinti of Regalbuto, Sicily. A 54 year resident of Emerson, Tom was born and raised in Union City, New Jersey. Raised as Gaetano, in a Sicilian speaking home, a school nurse dubbed him Tom and thus began his assimilation. Tom was the first member of his family to go to college. He graduated from Rutgers University and received his Master's Degree from Montclair State.
While teaching 6th grade in Washington School, in Union City, Tom met Joan, his wife of 55 years. T om then spent 38 years in the Paramus Schools as a Teacher, School Psychologist and Director of Student Personnel Services before retiring in 1999. Tom loved reading, laughing, listening to opera and classical music and was an accomplished pianist as well. Trips to New England and Europe (particularly to Italy) and being with family - especially his two grandchildren, were special times in his life.
Tom will be remembered by family and friends for his wonderful sense of humor, quick wit, kind manner, and dedication to his work with and for the students of Paramus. He will also be remembered for his bottomless love of his family and his tendency to try to protect them from all harm, be that a possible chill or a scorpion bite. Tom was also known to friends and family as "Mr. Wonderful" based on a close relationship he claimed he had with Santa who left him a note every Christmas extolling Tom's greatness.
Tom was predeceased by his parents and his sisters: Concetta Brogna, Gaetana Cosentino and Josephine Occhipinti. He is survived by his wife Joan Branchini Occhipinti; his son Thomas S. Occhipinti of Hardyston, NJ, and his daughter Anne N. Occhipinti and her husband Scott Haskell and their children Chiara and Max, of Boston, MA. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews. Tom will be greatly missed.