Rocco L. Cifrese, age 95

Rocco L. Cifrese

RARITAN TOWNSHIP – Rocco L. Cifrese, age 95, died Wednesday, February 4, 2015, at Hunterdon Medical Center in Raritan Township, New Jersey.

Born January 27, 1920 in Morristown, New Jersey, Rocco was the son of the late Frank and Mary (Oliva) Cifrese. He was a resident of Mendham Township, New Jersey, for more than 53 years before moving to an assisted living facility in Raritan Township in 2012.

Rocco was a proud member of the US Army Air Corps, from 1941-1945, and also served in the Air Force Reserves from 1951-1952. As a Second Lieutenant he flew dangerous bombing missions during World War II. An ace pilot, Rocco was one of the few to fly both B-17 and B-24 aircraft. For his efforts, Rocco was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Additionally, he delivered some of the earliest shipments of Penicillin to our troops overseas. After the war, he was employed by Alderney Dairy in Morris Plains, NJ, until he became a Union Carpenter and worked on many commercial construction projects. Rocco was a life-long volunteer fireman and past Chief of the Brookside Engine Company #1, as well as a former Mendham Township Fire Marshall. He was a Communicant for many years with St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Mendham, New Jersey, and a member of The VFW, Post 7858 of Bernardsville, New Jersey.

Rocco was an accomplished gardener, and a member of the NJ Beekeepers Association as well as owner of Walnut Hill Apiary where he collected and sold honey. Rocco’s talents as a repairman were widely known, as he could fix almost anything. He often volunteered at charity thrift stores, where he would resurrect broken items. His family and friends will remember him as a fabulous storyteller, especially with stories of World War II.

Predeceased by his parents and his brothers, Vito, Michael, and Frank Cifrese, Jr., and his sisters, Rose Cifrese and Frances Girodano, Rocco is survived by his wife of 61 years, Nicoletta (Mazziotta) Cifrese. Further, he leaves behind his son and daughter-in-law, Frank and Jennifer Cifrese of Boulder, Colorado, his daughter Lisa Cifrese and son-in-law Dr. Richard Geha of Stockton, New Jersey, his grandchildren, Frank S. Cifrese of Boulder, CO, Jamie Ellis of Laramie, WY, and Danielle Cifrese of Boulder, CO., his sister, Anne Endler of Canandaigua, New York, as well as many nieces and nephews whom he adored.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, February 12, 2015, at St. Joseph Church, 6 New Street, Mendham, NJ. Interment will follow in Holy Rood Cemetery in Morristown, NJ. Calling hours will be from 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, February 11, 2015, at Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home, 147 Main Street, Flemington, NJ, 08822.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Rocco’s name may be made to Brookside Engine Co. # 1, P.O. Box 196, Brookside, NJ, 07926.

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