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'Sweet, Selfless, Always Smiling': Beloved North Jersey Educator Michael Carlucci, 57

"He was such a good guy, always remembered for his kind nature and his smile."
"He was such a good guy, always remembered for his kind nature and his smile." Photo Credit: Jeanene Carlucci

A celebration of life for career North Jersey educator Michael Carlucci will be live-streamed later this week to what's expected to be an enormous audience.

The beloved 57-year-old father of three from Verona had been swimming with his wife, Jeanene, and others on Saturday when he apparently was caught in a rip current generated by Hurricane Earl. His body was recovered after a 45-minute search.

Carlucci’s funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. this Friday, Sept. 16 at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit (36 Gould Street, Verona), where he was an active parishioner.

MAP: Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit

The service will be available for those who cannot attend via Zoom. To join via computer, laptop, smartphone, etc., go to: Michael Carlucci Funeral Service (Zoom)

For the passcode, email: office@holyspiritverona.org.

To join via Telephone (audio only): dial (646) 876-9923 and use Meeting ID 848 8711 5414.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the worship booklet.

Visiting hours are from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 at the Prout Funeral Home (370 Bloomfield Avenue in Verona): (973) 239-2060

MAP: Prout Funeral Home

Carlucci -- who grew up in Cliffside Park and had a house on LBI – had been teaching math at Seton Hall Prep in West Orange when he died. He’d previously been the STEM supervisor at Passaic Valley Regional High School in Little Falls before retiring.

Carlucci was graduated from William Paterson University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and mathematics. He began teaching at Ridgefield Memorial High School, where he also coached soccer – leading his team to a state championship in 1997 -- and track.

Carlucci spent the majority of his teaching and coaching career at Cedar Grove Memorial High School before becoming STEM administrator for PVRHS (continued below).

“As a man with such great faith, upon retiring, he returned to teaching at Seton Hall Prep in West Orange,” his obituary says. “Here, he was able to once again work, help, and guide his students through his love of teaching.”

Carlucci coached his children through various sports and was a volunteer with the Verona Eagles football team as well as with the recreational softball, baseball, and basketball leagues.

He also conducted a weekly Bible study group in his home, served as a Sunday school teacher and volunteered with the food pantry at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit.

Carlucci is survived by his wife of 28 years, Jeanene (nee Pfeil), and their children -- Christina, Michael, and Sarah – as well as siblings Mary Carlucci, Raymond, and Stephen (Vivienne), mother-in-law Anita “Boppie” Pfeil, brother-in law-Karl (Dara), Christopher, and nieces and nephews Raymond, Katie, Stephen, Karl Henry, Sean, Graham, Nicholas, and Sophia.

“Mr. Carlucci was a teacher and coach for 26 years before joining the Passaic Valley administrative team in 2016," PVRHS Supt. Bracken Healy wrote in a letter to the school community. "He was a passionate educator who truly enjoyed working with our students, staff and community.

“We lost an incredible educator, a selfless individual and a friend to all.”

"Such a sweet man. Always with a smile," wrote Stephanie Gaita Morabito. "I will always remember him fondly."

"My son had him [at Seton Hall Prep] and was looking forward to 'Mr. Carlucci life stories',” said Sigita Zibas. "They held a mass on Monday morning in the SHP auditorium and there was an unexpected turnout. My son said they ran out of Eucharist.

"Mr. Carlucci was a religious man and had quickly become a part of the SHP Community since joining in 2020," Zibas said. "This has hit the SHP Community very hard. The students have met with counselors to better process this shocking and tragic situation."

Many also remember Carlucci from his college days, when he worked at Rudy's Seafood Restaurant in Cliffside.

"He was such a good guy, always remembered for his kind nature and his smile," borough native Maria Festa Ferraro wrote in a remembrance. "My thoughts and prayers are with his family. RIP my friend."

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Carlucci Family via a GoFundMe campaign that was being organized or via the Food Pantry of the Church of the Holy Spirit.

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