CERBONE, NEIL SR.
Mar 09, 2014 | 231 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A memorial celebration was held March 8 for Neil Cerbone, Sr. He passed away Feb. 20 exactly 63 days after the death of his spouse of 61 years, Sandra Cerbone. He was the U.S. National Drum Champion from 1950 - 52. As a result, he was noticed by the West Point marching band and became their principle drummer. He was sought after to play with the big bands of the time, but chose a different road. He did the only thing he cared about more than music; he married the love of his life, Sandra Corvino. Their vision was to create a family together.

He is survived by two children, Neil Jr. and Julie Lyons; his grandson, Jamon Lyons; and two sons in law, Steven Lyons and Thomas Devaney.

Neil spent more than 30 years working in the Jersey City school system. He was officially an 8th grade English and Music teacher, but for the thousands of kids whose lives he touched, he taught them that their lives could be their own, that they could call the shots. At an embarrassing time in U.S. history, when it was the law for some people to sit in the back of a bus, he was color blind... fiercely colorblind, and he accepted nothing less from all those around him. One hour with Neil and you saw the world differently.

After retiring from public school life he transitioned to his second career, Director of Education at a private school for children with special needs. He decided to “really retire” after the birth of his grandchild, Jamon Lyons. He devoted himself to instilling in Jamon the greatest gifts he had, music and wit. Neil could riff on a melody, a rhythm, or a conversation with equal agility, and at 20, so can Jamon. Services arranged by the O’Brien Funeral Home, Wall Township.

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