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Salvatore Giordano of Port Washington: Daughters' playmate and protector

Salvatore Giordano with his wife, Marion, and their

Salvatore Giordano with his wife, Marion, and their three daughters: Lisa Giordano, left, Kristi Casesa and Laura Granath, right.     Credit: Giordano family

In an Albertson cul-de-sac, free from the threat of speeding cars, Salvatore Giordano joined his daughters as they played.

Giordano, known to play Frank Sinatra and Doo-Wop music on the deck as the sun inched toward its midday position, was their playmate and protector.

In sticky Long Island summers, he stood with his three daughters as white-tinged swell spilled onto the sands of Jones Beach. He rode and jumped waves alongside the girls, sharing the experience with them.

There were bike rides and baseball games; he taught his youngest daughter how to throw a ball.

"He was the fun parent, the fun dad," said his middle daughter, Lisa Giordano, of Freeport. And nothing seemed to faze him.

At age 47, Salvatore proudly bought what his youngest daughter, Kristi Casesa, said was his first new car: a mauve-colored Mitsubishi. He let a teenaged Casesa borrow the car, and she promptly crashed it, returning a smashed vehicle to the driveway before her father had come home from work.

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She waited anxiously, knowing that he would see the damage before he saw her, only to have him come in to check that she was OK.

"He never raised his voice, he never got upset," recalled Casesa, who now lives in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. "He said, ‘Kristi, it’s just a car.’"

In early April of this year, Salvatore Giordano was hospitalized for symptoms of COVID-19. On a Thursday, his daughters had permission to say goodbye to him through a window. He died on Easter, April 12,, at age 81.

Born in Corona, Queens, Salvatore Giordano grew up to be a hard worker who painted houses for a living and grew human-sized tomato plants as a hobby. At times, he worked multiple jobs. Before his house-painting career began, he was an army medic stationed in Germany.

"He was a great role model with his work ethic," Lisa Giordano said. "He worked nights and he worked days and he just did whatever he could to provide for us."

His eldest daughter, Laura Granath, of Mineola, describes him as a man who adored his family and took care to make sure that his daughters never wanted for anything.

"We never knew if we were struggling or what, because he always provided for us," Granath said.

Giordano and his wife, Marion, who died in 2010, eventually retired to Port Washington — a move consistent with his love of the water. In retirement, the couple enjoyed cruises, winter months in Florida and trips to play the slots in Atlantic City.

When Marion was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through chemotherapy, his daughters noticed the way their dad took care of her. It was an "old-fashioned, true-love type of marriage," said Casesa, who remembers watching as he washed his wife’s hair.

On her own wedding day, Casesa and her father rode together to the church, just the two of them. Marriage would be hard work, he told her, but worth it; and, he added, his door would be open for her always.

A year before Marion died, the pair celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a party and vow renewal at George Washington Manor in Roslyn. There were dancing and a tiered cake; his red tie accented the red in her outfit.

In later years, Salvatore remained in Port Washington. He kept a standing Tuesday breakfast appointment with his younger brother, John Giordano, of Manhasset. They would usually meet at the Port Washington Diner on Main Street, his daughters said.

That diner was his favorite, Granath said. Despite his diabetes, he would order waffles and ice cream and shush those advising him otherwise.

In addition to his daughters and brother, he is survived by his six grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

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