Remembering Jerry Liotta

Staples High School graduate Jesse Liotta writes:

My dad Jerry passed away in 2018, at 85. I never wrote him an obituary.

This Christmas, he would turn 90. I wrote this to honor him, on Christmas Day.

My dad passed suddenly. At the time, I didn’t have the capacity to do anything besides mourn with my friends and family.

We did it our way. We had dinners in his honor, toasted him over Italian meals, screened his favorite films and shared countless memories of his jolliness, warmth, talent and huge heart.

This holiday season, I am writing the obituary I wasn’t able to write 5 years ago.

Jerry and Jesse Liotta, in younger years …

Jerry Liotta was born in Brooklyn in 1932 to a loving and supportive family led by his parents Salvatore and Josephine Liotta. He had vivid, beautiful memories growing up with his brothers Chuck and Franklin, and sister Marion.

Jerry was creative at a young age. It seemed he was destined to become an artist across many mediums. He enrolled in a special high school in downtown Manhattan to nurture his creative ideas and exuberance.

Jerry Liotta

Jerry went into theater at Adelphi University, and ended up in the advertising industry in New York City. Later he moved to Connecticut, gave up the media industry and made a new career for himself as a decorative artist.

He loved making people’s lives more beautiful, whether by painting them something in their home, or pointing out something in the world that he found beautiful.

Jerry loved to cook and eat. He hosted unforgettable dinner parties, and most
enjoyed the company of his friends and family. Jerry also loved movies.

Throughout my childhood he showed me the films that raised him; “The Thief of Baghdad,” “Gunga Din,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

He was a romantic. He always let the magic of movies sweep him up and into a new world. My daughter was born a year and a half ago. I look forward to sharing these with her, and talking about her grandfather.

… and older.

Jerry would want us all to remember that love goes on. Soon after he passed, we
unearthed a holiday note he had written to his wife Robin, from years before. It felt like he was talking to us from the other side of time.

It read: “I wish it could be forever! I love you! Maybe it will be. Happy Holidays, Jerry.”

Happy 90th Birthday, Dad. I will love you until the end of time!

Jesse Liotta

5 responses to “Remembering Jerry Liotta

  1. What a great guy and fantastic artist.
    We installed a Murphy Bed in our bungalow and knew Jerry did murals. We were kinda friends so I asked him to come over. I asked his rates and he said “$500 to a couple of thousand.” Ouch! “How much for a mural behind my Murphy? Jerry asked me what I wanted and did I have a photo to copy. I told him I had no photos and no ideas that he could just paint whatever he thought would look great.
    “I’ll do it for $500 bucks” he said. “This will be fun! Do you have any idea how often clients stand over my shoulder holding a photo and complaining or correcting my work?”
    It took about a week as he needed to let paint layers dry. We happened to have an excellent house painter working at the time who watched Jerry paint and who came to me and said “That guy is a genius! Never saw anyone with talent like that.”
    Thanks Jerry‼️ RIP🙏

    PS: Click below for the photo of the mural. Too bad you can’t see the beautiful flowers (behind the pillows). He added a Cardinal, ’cause Sandy’s from Louisville KY. 🤪

  2. What a crazy coincidence! I actually once had a father of the very same name who started a first family years before in Westport, then abandoned it, including his 12-year-old son — left him living alone with an incapacitated alcoholic mother — in order to move to NYC and then Chicago, remarry & start a second family …

    Ironically he later moved back to Westport, but despite living just a mile from his grandkids for years, rarely found time to see them & never even contacted them the last five years of his life … What a Small World! LOL 😀

  3. My late husband Dan and I had the pleasure of meeting your dad by chance one day while walking at Winslow Park. I am not sure how we happened upon each other, but we introduced ourselves and had a lovely conversation. Dan was a former NYC Ad Man and he knew of Jerry’s fame through the industry – so he was thrilled to meet him. They both were artists as well. I took Jerry’s number – and had it in my contacts for a while and then heard of his death. Alas, we never met again – but what a pleasure it was to have had that short encounter. How blessed are you to have such beautiful memories of your dad? Thank you for sharing them.

  4. Just beautiful! When we lose a loved one, writing is perhaps the best way to make our feeling heard. I still write to my husband who I lost 5 years ago.

  5. A wonderful man who lives on through you!

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