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 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 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.
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!