for Thomas John DeQuinzio, 89. He passed away Oct. 24 surrounded by his two greatest loves, his family and his music. The son of Mary and James, Tom grew up one of six children in Jersey City. In 1945, at the age of 17, he left St. Peter's Prep to join the US Navy. He served on board the USS Calvert for two years, and as part of the recovery team in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He proudly served his country and remained a patriot throughout his life, wearing his Navy hat for the next 72 years. Always a hard-working and devoted family man, Tom worked for Acme Markets in Kearny for 40 years and painted houses at night to support his family. However, his authentic profession and calling was the clarinet. He practiced thousands of hours and developed a tone and command of the instrument admired throughout New Jersey and South Florida. He also had a smooth singing voice and serenaded thousands of people with his signature song "My Way." With his band "Tommy Dee and the Entertainers" he performed at hundreds of weddings and celebrations, and for many years led the Friday night house band at the Casino in the Park. Later, while enjoying a blessed retirement with Carmela at Park Side in Ft. Myers, Florida, he relished the opportunity to play aside world-renowned musicians. Together they brought the big band music to countless regional music lovers. Tom composed songs, most notably "Santa Claus is Coming," a staple every Christmas to all who knew and loved him. He possessed a quick wit, creating and delivering jokes at split second speed, and he wrote several skits that were featured on "Candid Camera" in the 1960s. He was a great storyteller, creating the characters Monroe and Squeaky, and detailing their hysterical adventures for the pleasure of his grandchildren. A man of faith, he was kind and loyal, and will be remembered as a true gentleman.
He was the husband of Carmela DiPietro DeQuinzio for 62 years; the father of Denice DeQuinzio (NYC); Diane DeQuinzio and Mary Tucker (Tega Cay, SC); Marilyn and Steven Hart (Darien, CT); Thomas and Marie DeQuinzio (Hasbrouck Heights); and Jeanmarie and Oliver Armas (Chatham). He was Pop Pop to the nine grandchildren who adored him: Thomas, Joseph, and Grace DeQuinzio; Nicholas, Jordan, Christopher, and Sarah Hart; and Maria and Isabel Armas. He is also survived by countless family members and friends.
Services arranged by the McLaughlin Funeral Home, Jersey City.