Thomas F. Carocci, age 93 years, of Flemington, NJ, died on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at Hunterdon Medical Center, Raritan Township, NJ.
A New Year’s Day baby, Tom was born in East Orange, NJ on January 1, 1924, son of the late William and Maria Taliercio Carocci. He resided in Flemington for the past forty years, having formerly lived in Newark, NJ.
A 1942 graduate of East Orange High School, Tom went on to serve his country as a member of the United States Army, having served during World War II from 1943-1946 as a high speed radio operator.
This great war had profound effects upon Tom. His position led him to be a part of many of the great European military campaigns: from the Normandy Invasion, to the battle of the Rhineland, to the fronts in Northern France, Tom and his team of the 9th Signal Company were pivotal to the Allied successes. In fact, the Company was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for their efforts to maintain communication as American forces poured across the Rhine River.
In 1995, Tom received a phone call that would leave a mark upon his heart for the rest of his life. A family that was part of the resistance in the town of Fosses-la-Ville, Belgium, was on the other end of the phone. Fifty-one years earlier, Tom had befriended them as he was the first person from the Allied forces to enter the village, and later, he would be the first to ever return.
The caller was the daughter of Renee Radelet, whose family welcomed him in and gave him food and sanctuary. This wonderful call reminded Tom how important the Allied efforts were and how he personally made a difference in the lives of this family for the better.
In 1997, Tom and his wife and daughter traveled to Belgium for a reunion with the Radelet family. Tom was honored for his service with an official town ceremony and a re-enactment of his Army unit’s encampment in Fosses-la-Ville. He and his family also attended the 55th anniversary in 1999 of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, where he had landed on Utah Beach. For the rest of his life, Tom treasured his friendships with everyone he met on his return trips to Belgium and France.
In 2016, Tom was honored by Operation Jersey Cares at their first annual Gala for his selfless service during the war.
Upon returning to the States at the war’s end, he entered Seton Hall University through the G.I. Bill where he earned a degree in Business Administration. He was a stockbroker for many years at the firm of Hornblower & Weeks, Newark, NJ. He then went on to become a property manager at Regional Court Apartments in Flemington, NJ for many years.
A communicant of St. Magdalen Church, Flemington, NJ, Tom was also a proud member of the Italian American Heritage Club of Hunterdon County, the Rutgers Oral History Society, the Flemington American Legion Post #159, and was a Platinum supporter of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Tom was a Renaissance man who had an intellectual curiosity that led him down many paths of life. His many interests included travel, art, classical music, and Italian food. Compassionate and strong-willed, he had high standards for himself and was extremely devoted to his family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife of fifty-four years, Mary Louise Parks Carocci. The two had a wonderful marriage and for their 50th anniversary, they visited and had a Mass said at the altar of St. Peter’s tomb in the Vatican. It was a very moving and memorable experience.
Thomas was also preceded in death by a daughter, Christine Carocci; three sisters, Lee LaMarca, Elvira Carocci and Julia Brennan; and a nephew, John Brennan.
Surviving are his daughter and her wife, Molly Carocci and Jennifer Lurker of Concord, MA; his grandson, Liam Lurker; a brother and sister-in-law, William and Connie Carocci; a sister-in-law, Patricia Bush; many nieces and nephews including Thomas and wife, Jane LaMarca, Marilyn Klubenspies, Julie Brennan, Mary and husband, Armando Silva, Bernadette and husband, Chris White, Anne Marie DiFuria, Kathleen Brennan and her wife, Kat Duff, Patricia Brennan, and Regina and husband, Jack Graessle; his niece and godchild, Amanda Cunningham and her family; nieces Mary O. Jewett, Betty Veenstra, Jeanne Sheldon, Pat Foos, Toni Kokal, Marta Spears, Micheline McCafferty, Mel Waldo, Linda Lawson, Laura Owens, Lisa Bassett; nephews Bill Parks, Mike Burke, Alan Spears, and Mick Lawson; many great nieces and nephews including T.J., Lance, Jane and Luke LaMarca, and Lisa Goetchius; his childhood friend, Russell D’Arpa; his longtime friends, Paul and Norma Santella and Angela Lambert; and many extended family members and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial celebrated by Rev. John Primich will take place on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Magdalen Church, 105 Mine Street, Flemington, NJ under the care and direction of Wright & Ford Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 38 State Highway 31, Flemington, NJ.
Interment next to his late wife, Mary Louise, will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 225 Ridgedale Avenue, East Hanover, NJ 07936.
Thomas will lie in repose on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and on Thursday, December 7, 2017 from 9-10:00 a.m. at the funeral home.
American Legion honor services at the funeral home will take place Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Please visit Thomas’s permanent memorial site at www.wrightfamily.com to leave a public or private message of condolence and words of comfort, as well as to share stories and photographs of his life.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting those who wish to make memorial contributions do so to Operation Jersey Cares online by clicking HERE or via mail to P.O. Box 551 Somerville, NJ 08876.