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556 Westfield Avenue
Westfield, NJ 07090
Phone: 908-233-0255
Fax: 908-233-0497
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July 13, 1931 – October 11, 2018

Gabriel Petruccelli
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"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— Dooley Colonial Funeral Home

Obituary for Gabriel Petruccelli


Gabriel Petruccelli was born in East Orange, NJ July 13, 1931. Very quickly he proved himself to be devoted to family, and a hard worker. He did his part to pitch in and support the family when it was needed. He worked odd jobs such as landscaping and assisting his father at a tailor’s shop that made fine Italian suites for Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and other upscale stores in New York City. A regular attendee at the Tremont Chapel, he also grew in his faith. He and his childhood friends relished the opportunity to go on trips to NYC with the pastor of the church where they would also bring a sense of mischief.

At age twenty, Gabe was drafted into the army and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. While serving he he financially aided other family members in their efforts to achieve degrees in higher education and he was very proud to be a part of their success. Following his discharge, he returned to East Orange. Now an Usher at Tremont Chapel, Gabe spied a new girl in the congregation. When his fellow usher said that if Gabe didn’t ask her out, he would, Gabe approached Frances Jean Brown, a transplant from the Mid-West studying Cosmetology in NYC. After courting, they became engaged in 1958 and were married in Iowa a year later.

Gabe was an accomplished bowler and even had several perfect games. He become well-known for his bellowing call of “HEY” when he thought he had a strike.

The couple’s first apartment in East Orange, although not large and over a store, was still home. Gabe became a roofing apprentice and soon was skilled not only in general roofing contracting, but in installing and repairing slate roofs which was exclusive and exacting work.

While Fran was visiting family back in Iowa, Gabe had something cooking-he usually always did. Fran received a letter with a photo of a garbage truck……” Guess what Honey? I’m in the sanitation business and here is one of our trucks!!!” Naturally, this came as quite a surprise to his bride. As the business grew the couple moved to an apartment in Cranford NJ and were blessed with their first child, Steven, in 1963. The sanitation business was good, but no job is perfect. So in the winter of 1967, when the partners refused to pay Gabe for the day he took his wife to the hospital for the birth of their second child, Paul, he knew it was time to get out and take a new tack.

Buoyed by his faith and his devotion to family, Gabe worked as a painting contractor and returned to landscaping; building his own clientele locally to supplement his other work.

In 1968 the family moved and settled in Garwood. The two family home allowed his parents to live upstairs in their own apartment.

Gabe worked hard at whatever would support his family, and at one time an employee for Monsanto, as well as continuing his landscaping and painting enterprises.

During this time the third and final child, a daughter, Jean, was born in the summer of 1969 and the nuclear family was complete.

The Gran Centurions, an Italian-American Social club, had built a facility in Clark with an Olympic size pool and catering facilities. They needed a person to maintain the facility and Gabe was the 1st person standing in line, but the group didn’t want to have a member (Gabe & Fran were already members) as their facilities manager. Gabe, ever resourceful, suggested that he could STILL be a member of the Club but the organization could hire him as a private contractor. Gabe was always up to the challenge and with his own know how, business friends and connections he had built through 20 years of working, he put together a system in the facility and network of vendors that not only kept the place running, but running efficiently and reliably for over 30 years.

Gabe’s landscaping customers were treated to both of his sons learning the business and he mentored them in how he served his customers, imparting his incredible work ethic to them as well. When his son Steven needed some steady income for college, Gabe gave part of the business to him and Paul took up the mantle as Steve’s right hand.

Gabe and his family were active in the life of the Garwood Presbyterian Church. He served several times as an Elder in the church and as its head of Buildings and Grounds. Some of his proudest moments were when his children professed their own faith becoming members of the church.

Gabe loved to travel and family days at the Jersey Shore and trips to visit family both in Iowa and Tennessee were enjoyed during the summer. He and Fran took a couple of cruises and he particularly liked the excursion to Alaska. In later years his annual residency in Lavallette, NJ became his most treasured time.

Family, Work, Faith these were the driving forces in his life and most if not all of his decision making started with these 3 things. It is no surprise then that he cast a huge net to which many were gathered. Those that depended on him and in turn he depended on as well. He built a storied reputation as the guy that could get things done; the person who could fix it. It didn’t matter if it was a child’s favorite toy, a person’s roof, a washer, Holiday lights, the painting of a room…a house, a lawn mower, hanging a door, custom items created by sight, or even just taking a trip to his legendary basement to pick out the missing tool for a job. Solving life’s little problems...this was his mission, his strength, and it powered his sense of fulfillment. The difference was that all this was delivered with a flair and love that only he could provide.

Gabe was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer a year and a half ago. This was his greatest challenge and he met it head on. When doctors laid out his options he didn’t shy away from chemotherapy, knowing that the side effects could be debilitating. But Gabe had always maintained his faith in God and The Salvation of Jesus Christ and laid his fate in the hands of his creator. Beyond all the odds he prevailed for a year and a half until his cancer got to the stage where chemo would no longer be effective and it had spread to an area that was inoperable.

On Thursday October 11, 2018 Gabriel Pettruccelli succumbed to his disease at age 87. He passed peacefully at his home in Garwwod and in the presence of his devoted and loving wife Francis Brown Petruccelli. He is survived by his three children and their spouses Steven (Cindy Lasuen), Paul (Diane Plumley), And Jean (Jeff Manhardt), five grandchildren, John, Genevieve, Margaret, Kathryn and Zachary and two great grandchildren, Cecilia and Juliette, all who were fortunate enough to know him, love him, and experience his incredible spirit, humor, expertise, devotion and love.

Gabe Petruccelli has left this world, but he died in a place of complete faith in his resurrection and joining with God in heaven.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to:

Atlantic Home Care and Hospice
465 South Street, Suite 100, Morristown, NJ 07960
Attn: Donation

To send flowers to the family of Gabriel Petruccelli, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.


When Monday, October 15th, 2018 3:00pm - 7:00pm
Dooley Colonial Funeral Home
556 Westfield Ave.
Westfield, NJ 07090

Service Information

Monday, October 15th, 2018 7:00pm
Dooley Colonial Funeral Home
556 Westfield Ave.
Westfield, NJ 07090

Interment Information

Fairview Cemetery
1100 East Broad Street
Westfield, NJ 07090
Interment Extra Info
Committal Service at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield will take place on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 10:45AM.