Louis DeMonte, a Newsday advertising account executive who was a mentor to others in his department, died of a heart attack at his home in Hicksville early Tuesday. He was 63.
He had been in overall good health, and his death was unexpected. "It came as a complete shock," said Jamie Allen, director of the automotive advertising department where DeMonte first started working on Sept. 14, 2011. "Everybody is still really upset."
DeMonte was "extremely organized, very motivated and had great success," Allen said. "He always had a smile and a nice greeting for you and would go out of his way to help you if he could."
DeMonte was planning to marry Rose Franklin of upstate Pine Bush in September, said his son Lou DeMonte, a corporate event planner who lives in Bayside.
Lou DeMonte said his father and mother, Barbara, had divorced many years ago but maintained amicable ties. His father, he said, was "a family man, a stand-up guy, a great father. I wouldn't trade him in for anything."
For years, he'd stop in once or twice a week to check on two elderly uncles, Nicholas Castoria, 86, and Steve Castoria, 81, in Flushing, his son said. They survive him.
DeMonte was born in Astoria, Queens, to Frank and Tina DeMonte. He grew up in Flushing, where he was a student athlete until elbow injuries ended his dreams of being a professional lefthanded pitcher, his son said. His love of sports was lifelong, focused on the Mets and the Jets, he said. "That's one of the biggest things we bonded over."
He graduated from Bishop Reilly High School and received a bachelor's of science degree from the New York Institute of Technology. DeMonte then worked in computers for the Long Island Rail Road. Later, he worked in sales, including at Lexus in Massapequa, Red Three Consulting in Manhattan, SAP America in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and Accruent Inc. in California. For one 10-year stint, he followed his passion for food, opening a pizzeria in Long Island City called Grandpa Frank's.
"He loved to cook, perfecting different meals," Lou DeMonte said. "He loved a good pot of tomato sauce and pasta."
He also was a knowledgeable wine aficionado and an avid golfer, Allen said. He added that he'd known DeMonte for years before his arrival at Newsday as one of the longtime golfing buddies who played each Saturday at the Swan Lake golf course in Manorville.
DeMonte's wake will be at Macken Mortuary in Rockville Centre Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Andrew Avellino Church in Flushing, Queens, with burial to follow at Mount St. Mary Cemetery in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
In addition to his son and two uncles, DeMonte is survived by his sister, Frances, and her husband, Anthony Barricelli, and their children Louis, Francis and Tina-Marie, all of Rockville Centre.
His fiancee, Rose Franklin, has a son, Lucas, also of Pine Bush.