Those related to Antonio Moccaldi loved him dearly, and those who weren’t loved him just the same.
The longtime Bay Shore resident, who relocated to Blue Point two years ago, was a friend to everyone — a lovable, affable man who took tremendous joy in watching the success of others.
“I grew up with him,” said his friend Vinny Moreno, 69, of Pennsylvania. “I had no dad and I’m the oldest of five brothers and a sister. He was my older brother. He was the kind of person that told me things. We confided in each other. He was as loyal as anyone I’ve ever met in my life.”
Moccaldi, a father of two sons, died of a sudden heart attack Sunday at Ami Rod and Gun Club, a hunting lodge in upstate Jefferson, his family said. He was 79.
“He made friends immediately,” said his wife of 55 years, Theresa. “People are devastated. He helped everybody.”
Moccaldi was an avid white-tailed deer hunter. He was the last surviving original member of the upstate club. He was known there for his prowess in the woods and in the lodge kitchen.
“He loved to cook and he loved to take care of everyone in the club,” said another friend, Steven Goetz, 50, of Rockland County. “He was the one who volunteered to buy the food for the hunting season, to cook breakfast and dinner every day. He was always so generous and always willing to help anybody at any time.”
Moccaldi once shot a deer in Ohio that had 17-point antlers, one of his proudest accomplishments. The mounted deer still hangs in his basement, said son Michael, 42, of East Islip.
“He loved the outdoors,” Michael Moccaldi said. “He loved the camaraderie with his friends and family. Everyone we hunted with was family to him. He just loved being around the guys and loved the sport.”
Antonio Moccaldi also was an adventurous eater. He was game to try almost anything, provided it wasn’t ostrich meat or Parmesan cheese.
“He was a big foodie,” said son Anthony, 53, of East Islip.
Added Michael Moccaldi of his father: “He loved to try everything, at least once.”
Antonio Moccaldi worked for 30 years as the garage foreman at New York Telephone in Westbury, primarily in charge of vehicle maintenance. He retired in 1994. A mechanic by trade, he was always willing to lend his expertise and assistance to anyone who needed it, his family and friends said.
“I rebuilt my whole house with him,” said Anthony Moccaldi. “Sheetrock, plumbing, electric, everything.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Antonio Moccaldi enlisted in the Army in 1960. He served for three years in the infantry, stationed mainly in Germany. While on leave in 1961, he met Theresa Cerenzio; the two were married on May 16, 1965, at St. Raphael Church in East Meadow.
The newlyweds moved to Lindenhurst before relocating to Bay Shore in 1969, where they raised their sons and welcomed five granddaughters into their lives. They moved to Blue Point in 2018.
“He had this way of teaching you and you not even knowing that you were being taught,” Moreno said. “He was that kind of a person.”
Moreno continued: “He didn’t attempt to leave a legacy, but he did.”
Moccaldi also is survived by a brother, John, of South Carolina. A wake is scheduled from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Overton Funeral Home in Islip. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Friday at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in East Islip. He will be buried at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people make donations to a veteran’s charity of their choice.