Obituary of Salvatore J. Azzaro
An embodiment of “The Greatest Generation,” Salvatore J. (Sam) Azzaro of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, passed away on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, just days before his 99th birthday. He was born in Brooklyn, New York-- from where everything was just, “the best!” He moved to Lyndhurst in 1952 with his bride RoseMarie (nee Melfi).
Growing up in Brooklyn, Sam benefited from the community activities organized by the fledgling Police Athletic League. He and his friends created a club called the Ticons – and Sam held copies of its bylaws and minutes among his cherished possessions. A product of the public school system, Sam graduated from the selective Brooklyn Technical High School (Tech) which had a lasting impact on both his military service and his career as a licensed Professional Engineer.
Salvatore proudly served in the United States Army during World War II achieving the rank of Specialist Sergeant; his training at Tech prepared him in drafting, map-making, and precise graphic and machine parts design.
Following his discharge, he took courses at Columbia University on the GI Bill and continued to work in drafting and engineering as a civilian consultant at Fort Totten, at private engineering firms and at Texaco. In 1955, he began a long engineering career at PSE&G where he specialized in the design and construction of power-generating plants of all types. He brought new meaning to the phrase “nuclear family” as he excitedly shared his work on New Jersey’s nuclear power plants. Although never built, Sam worked on the proposed offshore nuclear power plant “The Atlantic Generating Station.” Noted essayist John McPhee would chronicle this project in the pages of The New Yorker and in his short-story anthology Giving Good Weight. Sam became an expert in environmental impact issues such as wastewater runoff and soil mechanics, as well as structural stability design parameters. He was proud of the Design Department’s thorough design process and meticulous work. During these years, Sam was also part of the adjunct faculty at Newark College of Engineering (now NJIT) and a beloved mentor of young engineers in all his endeavors.
When Sam was eligible for an early retirement “package” he left PSE&G and continued work in consulting and then ended his career as a Senior Engineer with the New York Power Authority (NYPA), formerly PASNY, involved with quality assurance and control for its Upstate New York hydropower plants and other generating facilities.
Sam was not “all work and no play;” you could set your clock by his timely arrival home from work when he turned his attention to looking after his family and home. He was an active member of St. Michael’s Parish, an energetic volunteer with the Cub Scouts at St. Michael’s and a Little League, softball, bowling, and cheerleading parent. A lifetime New York Yankees fan, Sam had the distinction of seeing most every Yankees Great, including Babe Ruth, play at Yankee Stadium. During the 2022 season, Sam was glued to WFAN, counting and urging on Aaron Judge’s milestone home runs.
Sam was a voracious reader; in his last years, his declining sight kept him from his most loved pastime – reading. He kept a carefully curated library of classics, biographies, thrillers, and back issues of National Geographic. He had an ear for poetry and even created a nom de plume for himself: “Ero Tavlas” (Salvatore spelled backwards). He dabbled in painting and had a good eye for art and design. He played the piano “by ear” and his family knows the familiar notes of his signature (and only) composition. He had a warm spot in his heart for babies and puppies – and trained Bear, the family dog, to answer to commands given in Italian! As a stamp and coin collector, Sam shared his interests with his grandchildren and their classmates in special school visits.
Did you ever have a chow mein sandwich? Sam did (at Nathan’s in Coney Island)! He had strong food memories – you could drool when he spoke of his grandmother’s breaded steak, his mother’s braised lamb (in the waterless cooker), his wife’s Sunday gravy with braciole, the Jade Fountain’s spareribs and Rimini’s baba au rhum. He always enjoyed a good cup of coffee in which he loved to dunk “even Jell-O” as his brother-in-law Michael always joked.
Sam was predeceased by his wife RoseMarie in 2020; they were married for 68 years. Sam and RoseMarie were proud of their three children– Rosemary Azzaro (Frank Agostino), John Azzaro (Kathy) and Joann Kozlowski (Stephen). They were blessed with four grandchildren: Meghan Hawkins (Channing), Shannon Azzaro, Krysten Charzewski (Corey) and Stephen Joseph Kozlowski. Sam’s blessings increased with the arrival of his great grandsons Liam John Hawkins and Alexander James Charzewski. His brothers Joey, John and Danny and sister Connie also predeceased him. His sisters-in-law Helen and Rose, nieces, nephews, colleagues, and dear friends will miss “Uncle Sammy” and his (painful) puns, grilling mastery, encyclopedic knowledge, and sharp memory.
The Azzaro Family would like to acknowledge, with gratitude, Sam’s caregiver Ben, for his commitment to Sam’s well-being. Additionally, the Family thanks Valley Hospice and Home Care teams for their faithful and compassionate care. Sam appreciated their visits and enjoyed sharing his favorite stories with them.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation at Nazare Memorial Home, Inc., 403 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst, NJ on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 from 9:30 – 11 AM. A funeral service will begin at 11 AM. Entombment, Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington. In lieu of flowers, you may consider supporting the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation by clicking here or a local food sufficiency, literacy, eyesight research or hospice program to honor Sam’s memory. You may express your condolences to Salvatore’s family by using our Tribute Wall.
Committal and Entombment
In Loving Memory
1925 - 2024
Three generations of a family that took root in Lyndhurst and have created a legacy to be the people you know with respect, dignity and compassion for all those who pass through our doors. For close to 90 years the Nazare Memorial Home has been a pillar of service to the people of Lyndhurst and its bordering communities.