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Friday, June 12, 2009

Here's to the Bella Vita... Rest in Peace Louis Crescenzi

Louis J. Crescenzi of Verona died at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair on June 8, 2009, at the age of 87. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, June 15, 2009, at Assumption Church, Maple Avenue, Morristown. Friends may visit on Sunday, June 14, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Bradley-Braviak Funeral Home, 49 Whippany Rd., Whippany.

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Born and raised in Newark, Louis lived in Verona for the past 47 years. He was married for close to 67 years to the love of his life, Mary. He was a devout Catholic, an exemplary family man and a proud patriot who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Whether you knew him for five minutes or for 50 years, you were not likely to ever forget his charismatic personality. Louis was hard working from boyhood. He never saw roadblocks, only challenges to overcome. Louis was proud to be the oldest member of the Local Laborers' Union 472 in Newark, where he worked in construction before owning his own gas station in Belleville.

Fond of food and deeply connected to his Italian heritage, Louis realized his dream when he opened the Bella Vita restaurant on Route 46 in Parsippany. He was best known as the successful restaurateur who earned five chef hats from the Daily News in his first few months of opening. He later owned the Cafe Crescenzi, both in Bloomfield and in South Orange, before he retired.

There was also a brief but glowing movie career when he appeared as an "extra" in the first "Godfather" movie, for which he was very proud. Louis and his wife, Mary, were also well known for their charitable efforts. For 20 years they co-chaired a dinner and dance to benefit the Mount Carmel Guild, Department of Special education.

Louis is survived by his loving wife Mary (Minotti); children, Richard of Bloomfield, Donna Sheridan of Morris Township and Loretta Ciccone of Verona. Additionally, he is survived by a very special niece, Laura Nunez of Morristown, and also a proud grandfather of Louis Crescenzi, Matthew and Jeanna Sheridan, and great-granddaughter, Katlyn Crescenzi.

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