READINGTON, NJ - Dr. Albert Bernard Accettola – a founding physician of Hunterdon Medical Center – passed away peacefully in his home in Readington recently.
Accettola was more than just a physician. He was a surgeon, a gentleman farmer, professor and antique afficianado.
Accettola was born in New York City in 1918, a son of the late Vincent and Rose Andriola Accettola. He is survived by his daughter, Dr. Judith Hendricks (Keith Hendricks), and his son, Dr. Albert Accettola, Jr. (Iris Accettola).
Dr. Accettola was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Rose Accettola and by his son, Paul Accettola. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Richard Hendricks (Amanda Hendricks), Alison Accettola (Nolan Yamashiro), Pamela Tornabene (Paul Tornabene), Andrew Accettola (Ruchi Shah Accettola), Jeanne Kestel (Joe Kestel), and Casey Tuths (Matt Tuths); and four great-grandchildren, Wyatt Hendricks, Paul Tornabene, Jude Kestel, and Kian Accettola.
A 1940 graduate of Wagner College and 1944 graduate of Boston University Medical School, Dr. Accettola held a private practice in Staten Island. Prior to that, he held positions at Staten Island University Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, Marquette University and Hunterdon Medical Center, where he was a founding doctor of the orthopedic department.
He also taught orthopedics as an associate clinical professor at New York University, and was the orthopedic surgeon to all athletic teams at Wagner College from 1949 to 1987. A fencer during his undergraduate years, Wagner College wrote about Dr. Accettola saying, “Whether with a saber in his hand or a scalpel, Al Accettola has been a gift to Wagner sports.”
Dr. Accettola was a member and past president of the Richmond County Medical Society, a past president of the Medical Board of Staten Island University Hospital, and an active member of the New York State Medical Society, serving on numerous committees.
In 1987 Dr. Accettola retired to his 90 acre farm in Flemington where he remained busy and active with farming, antique restoration and enjoying time with children and grandchildren.
The first recipient of Wagner College’s Alumni Service Award, he was an inductee of Wagner's Athletic Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the Wagner College Lifetime Achievement Award. He was an emeritus trustee for life of the Wagner College Board of Trustees, on which he served from 1981 to the present. As was written about him when he received the Lifetime Achievement award, “…we are honoring him today, not for his achievements and distinguished service to so many, but for who he is – a man of civility and compassion in a world sorely lacking both.”
Dr. Accettola also received a citation for 35 years of service at New York University School of Medicine. He has been honored by many other organizations, including the Visiting Nurse Association of Staten Island and the Board of Trustees of Staten Island University Hospital for 25 years of distinguished service.
Dr. Accettola's professional accomplishments were many, but he was most known for his gentleness, humanity and humility. All those who knew him will certainly be living embodiments of his legacy by spreading love and forgiveness to all. Simply put, Albert Bernard Accettola, M.D., was a man who was “kind” to all those he met.
He delighted in hunting for deals at antique shows and spent many happy hours in his workshop, refurbishing antiques as gifts to his family. Dr. Accettola immaculately maintained his beloved farm and his family cherishes memories of him happily working on the property in his blue coveralls. Dr. Accettola remained a voracious reader until his 99th and final year; even when his eyes had failed him, he still consumed several audio books each week.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Rev. Jack O'Kane on Saturday, July 29 at 1 p.m. in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 105 Summer Road, Three Bridges, under the care and direction of Wright & Ford Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 38 Rt. 31, Flemington. Everyone is kindly asked to meet directly at the Church on Saturday at 12:45 p.m.
To those coming from the New York area, please be advised that there is a large Balloon Festival in the area on Saturday, so please check traffic reports and leave ample time to get to Church.
Following Mass, the family extends an invitation for friends to join them at Dr. Accettola's farm for a time of refreshments and fellowship from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. For those using GPS systems, please use 143 West Woodschurch Road, Flemington 08822 as the address.
Funeral home staff will be present to assist with parking when you arrive at the farm.
Cremation at the Chapel of Ewing Crematory in Ewing was private.
Please visit Dr. Accettola's permanent memorial site at wrightfamily.com to send a public or private message of condolence and to share stories and photographs of his life.
In lieu of flowers and in appreciation for Dr. Accettola's love of medicine and teaching, those wishing to do so may make a contribution in his memory to the Family Residency Program at Hunterdon Medical Center, c/o Hunterdon Medical Center Foundation, 9100 Wescott Dr., Suite 202, Flemington 08822.