Gennaro Musilli

Obituary of Gennaro Musilli

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On December 12, 2023, Gennaro Musilli, died peacefully and surrounded by his children at White Plains Hospital in New York. The day marked the end of a remarkable, ninety-five year long, journey and life that began in the tiny village of Pietraferrazzana in Italy. Gennaro, or Gerry, was born on August 17,1928 to the late Giulia Scopino and Silvestro Musilli. His older sister, Mafalda, and aunt, Zia Loreta, were a part of his household as was his grandmother. Many cousins, aunts and uncles lived down the street from him. He happily spent the early years of his life going to school and helping his family carry on its work on the family farmland. While life was not easy, he found joy in the company of his family and community and the rhythm of agricultural life. When Gerry reached middle school age, his mother sent him to the city of Lanciano, Italy to continue his studies. Gerry was smart and did well in school. Moreover, he revelled in the adventure of life in a new city and the experience of meeting new friends. His schooling was interrupted at various instances by the second world war, but in the end he was successful in earning his teaching degree. In 1948, Gerry travelled to Yonkers, New York where he joined his father. The plan was for him to learn English and to continue his studies as a teacher. However, once Gerry had a taste of the myriad of opportunities for paid work available to him, he decided to learn English through work experiences. His jobs ranged from being a singing waiter in a restaurant in Manhattan, a busboy at Cairo Gardens in the Catskills and working in a glove factory. Since he was by nature very gregarious, Gerry quickly became a part of the vibrant immigrant community of Park Hill in Yonkers. He was the manager for a local soccer team and was the area's representative at the league meetings. On his days off with his friends, he went dancing at the Arcadia Ballroom in New York and the Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle. Gerry joined the US Army in 1951 and was sent to Alaska where he worked as a draftsman. He recalled his time in the service with great affection for the opportunity it gave him to see other parts of the United States and to meet different people. He attained the rank of Corporal and received an Honorable discharge in 1953. After he completed his military service, Gerry returned to Italy and decided to continue his studies at the University of Ca' Foscari in Venice, Italy. There, he studied foreign languages, explored the beautiful city of canals and bridges and became the head of the student government for the University, the Doge. Venice was also where he met the love of his life, Maria Vita (Mariuccia) Cultrara. They married on July 25, 1959 and spent their honeymoon traveling all over Italy on vespa, train and ferry. In May 1960, Gerry and Mariuccia set out for a short adventure and trip to the United States. Once again, opportunity intervened and caused a change of plans. Gerry's next door neighbors from Pietraferrazzana, two brothers , Flavio and Archangelo Liberatore, had just purchased a restaurant business in Manhattan and needed someone to work as a Maitre D'Hotel The Liberatore brothers convinced him to take the position for a few months. Gerry loved the job. It suited him perfectly. The hours were long but he worked with and met hundreds of interesting people. This one job sent him on his career path as a restaurateur, a path on which he continued for all of his life. He and the Liberatore brothers eventually formed a very successful, lifelong partnership and bought other restaurants including La Manda's in White Plains, New York. As Gerry's professional life prospered, his family grew. He and Mariuccia had two daughters, Giuliana and Patrizia, and a son, Silvestro. The family lived in Yonkers in the Park Hill area. Life in Park Hill provided Gerry and his family a community as tightly- knit as the one of his small village. People often gathered at Caffe Puglie, Mount Carmel and St. Anthony churches or the various social clubs. Gerry and Mariuccia were often in the mix of organizing events in the community such as the dinner dance for Santa Vittoria, the choir of folkloric, Abruzzese music and monthly dinners at the Colle di Mezzo and Villa Volturno clubs. As their work responsibilities eased, Gerry and Mariuccia spent more time each year in his beloved Pietraferrazzana, Italy. There, too, Gerry showed by example how to be a part of a community. He encouraged the young people of the town to take on new projects and supported them. Gerry was a stalwart participant in the events such as the annual Briscola card tournaments, the chef recognition celebration, Cioci-family reunion dinners and the restoration of the local church. He knew that the celebration of milestones and happy moments were as necessary to building a life together as was providing comfort and food in moments of loss. One of Gennaro's most treasured activities was spending time with his family. At Christmas each year, he prepared a gargantuan feast of traditional foods for all the extended family to enjoy. He loved the preparation for the event as much as the actual dinner. As he, his children, grandchildren and friends rolled the pasta dough, stirred the tomato ragu or burned the cookies, stories and laughter would be shared and memories made. Gerry especially loved having his family visit with him in Pietraferrazzana. In Italy, his four grandsons, Marco and Alessandro Schooley and Gennaro and Massimo Musilli spent a lot of time with him walking the streets of the place where he grew up. As they enjoyed a gelato together or played cards, they learned the stories of the people who lived there before and what life was like when there was no electricity or television. A highlight of every trip to Italy was going with Nonno to the nearby town to collect the special mountain water that he loved so much and stopping to gather some wild oregano along the shortcut path he used to travel when he was a young boy. Now, Gerry has gone to join Mariuccia and his other loved ones who have predeceased him. We will miss his loving, caring and guiding presence in our daily lives. We are ever thankful for all he generously shared with us and look forward to the new stories he will share with us when we meet him again.


In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in Gennaro's memory by clicking the link below:

Feeding Westchester




Visitation at Funeral Home

4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Monday, December 18, 2023
Sinatra Memorial Home, Inc.
499 Yonkers Ave.
Yonkers, New York, United States

Final Resting Place

Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Ferncliff Cemetery
280 Secor Rd.
Hartsdale, New York, United States


10:00 am
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Saints John & Paul Church
280 Weaver Street
Larchmont, New York, United States
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Gennaro Musilli

In Loving Memory

Gennaro Musilli

1928 - 2023

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