MARIO F. DI MATTEO
(August 11, 1937 – February 1, 2015)
Mario F. Di Matteo—husband of 40 years to Argaille A. Di Matteo, his wife; father to Lillian Di Matteo Dixon from previous marriage; grandfather to Chelestina Dixon Gonzalez and Laura Dixon; great grandfather to Benedetto and Solara Gonzalez; brother to Teresa Di Matteo Fracassi, Paola Di Matteo DeSantis, Bruna Di Matteo DiSano, Onorina Di Matteo Sestini, and Pietro Antonio Di Matteo; and friend to so very many whose lives he touched with his wonderful music, working as Musician, Teacher, and Entertainer for 65 wonderful years—passed away on Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 2:05 a.m.
Coming to America in 1956 from Avezzano, L’Aquila, Italy, the place of his birth, August 11, 1937, and having an equivalent Associate’s Degree in Music and background in piano, accordion, classical guitar, organ, and voice, Mario sought to make his mark on the Music scene in New York and New Jersey, both places of his residence and professional career. He studied for a time with Mr. Rudolf Schramm at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
A self-educated Renaissance man, Mario dabbled in various hobbies such as refurbishing heavy equipment, collecting model trains, exploring Electronics, Computer Technology, all while performing in New Jersey restaurants such as The Governor Morris Hotel, Morristown; The Beacon Manor, Pt. Pleasant; The Brunswick Inn, New Brunswick; Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant, Dover; De Maio’s Restaurant, Parsippany; and Zeris and Chrisandi’s Restaurants, Denville, to name a few. Mario performed on keyboard, organ, synthesizers, Midi-technology musical equipment—a one-man band, whose artistry was reflected in a mirror suspended behind him showing audiences the versatility of arms, legs, fingers, voice creating and performing the wonderful musical legacy that still lives in us all. He designed and repaired most of all of his equipment, seeking to improve at every turn, keeping up with music technology advances, as he made countless restaurant patrons and concert goers happy with his music. He was in demand for organ concerts demonstrating Yamaha and Hammond organs, and performed for the New Jersey Organ Society. Even in his retirement, he performed at nursing homes, rehab facilities in the New Jersey area, and kept up with all his other creative interests, despite the several healing journeys he experienced as well.
Mario enjoyed travel, trekking to Canada, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Italy, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona with his wife, Argaille and on his own. A favorite trip was made to The Grand Canyon in Arizona, where Mario took a helicopter ride over the Canyon and said after the experience, “My heart was in my throat the whole time, and tears in my eyes at the awesome wonder of God”! The accompanying photo to this dedication is of Mario immediately following that Awesome Grand Canyon trip!
A Service of Remembrance will take place to celebrate the life of this kind, caring, superbly creative Musician, Teacher, and Life-long Learner on Saturday, February 14, 2015, 11:00 a.m. at the United Presbyterian Church of Flanders, 58 Drakesdale Rd., Flanders, NJ 07836. Tel: 973-584-8195 . In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the United Presbyterian Church at the above address for their many community outreaches. He is a beloved “honorary member” there. Arrangements are by the Davis & Hepplewhite Funeral Home, 96 Main St., Succasunna, NJ, Tel: 973-584-7264, davishepplewhitefh.com.
While Mario leaves all of the above-mentioned loved ones and countless friends and musical colleagues with aches in our hearts, we lovingly send him on his way, celebrating the blessing of his life in ours, confident his wonderful spirit goes on to the next chapter in his own Life.