BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Family and friends packed the Church of the Little Flower on Plainfield Avenue on Monday morning to say goodbye to Vito Mondelli, a lifelong resident of Berkeley Heights who was known as "The Heart of Berkeley Heights."
Mondelli, the owner of Vito Mondelli’s Nursery in Berkeley Heights, “loved people and his customers," and they loved him back.
"Wind Beneath My Wings" was played as the casket of the 84-year-old Mondelli was brought into the church. The lyrics, "Did you ever know that you're my hero, and everything I would like to be?" were fitting as Camille Aragona, Mondelli's caretaker and friend, adressed the guests stating that Vito is the "unsung hero of Berkeley Heights."
In the homily, Father Andy Prachar referenced Vito's generosity and kindness. "He would help people out quietly, not requiring a lot of attention," Father Andy said.
"We had with us, Vito Mondelli, a man of integrity, a man of generosity, a man of values, a man of family, a man who has been described as being 'The Heart of Berkeley Heights.' It doesn't have to end there. Each and everyone of us, Vito in his own polite way encourages that, we can be the same way," said Father Andy.
The closing prayers and sending song “God Bless America,” gave a message that Mondelli, a Marine in the Korean War, must be remembered as being a man of faith with a mission of hope and peace.
The burial followed at St. Mary's - Stony Hill in Watchung with Military Honors that included the presentation of the flag and the sounding of Taps.