Pasquale ‘Pat’ Pappalardo remembered for Joe & Pat’s pizza, real estate fame — and his famed hats – silive.com
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Ask Staten Islanders about the late Pasquale “Pat” Pappalardo and it prompts a smile — and a story. One of the founders of Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria and owner of Century 21 Papp Realty died on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 81 after a nine-month battle with leukemia. His immersion in family, the food business and real estate leaves behind a legacy of a man who loved life, say family and friends.
When Pat emigrated to the United States from Tre Case, Naples, he and brother Joe established their restaurant in Castleton Corners in 1960. From that family-run shop, other Pappalardo brothers opened their own parlors over the years. As a result, Neapolitan pie traditions are now enjoyed at Ciro’s in Huguenot, Pier 76 in St. George, Ruby Rosa in Manhattan’s Noltita neighborhood and a Joe & Pat’s born on the Lower East Side about two years ago.
Handing over his share of the pizzeria to his grandfather who was new to the country, Pat eased out of the restaurant business in the 1970s and into the real estate industry. When he purchased his first home with another brother, a two-family in Port Richmond, the real estate bug bit him. He became a salesperson, then a broker, then an agency owner and, finally, a Century 21 franchisee.
“He did everything with and for his family. He was so about learning, education, networking…just striving to be the best you could be and exceeding limits all the time,” said daughter Amanda Pappalardo. A regular on the borough social circuit, her dad also soaked up as much knowledge as possible from conferences and seminars.
At a real estate convention in Atlantic City one year, Pat’s son Angelo chuckled thinking of his dad joking and bickering back-and-forth with fellow broker, Sari Kingsley, on an elevator.
Kingsley fondly recalled, “Pat always had a smile on his face and sought out the good in his colleagues. He loved to dance and party. His eyes shone brightly behind his glasses and he so enjoyed having fun and embracing life.” She said he had a wit about him that was both humorous and sarcastic.
“The real estate industry has lost a true icon,” Kingsley lamented.
Pat was known for wearing a cowboy hat in a Century 21, gold hue.
“Italian cowboy, I used to call him,” said George K. Wonica, a broker who along with Pat, was one of the founding members of the Staten Island Board of Realtors and hence the Multiple Listing Service of Staten Island.
Wonica remembered dining with Pat while at an Atlantic City real estate convention and confessed to him that he’d never had figs. Said Wonica, “And when he heard that he started laughing and said, ’What do you mean you’ve never had figs?’” So Pat, an avid gardener, brought Wonica ficus fruit from his yard the following day.
Wonica said, “He was one of the honorable, good guys. He was one of the super ones out there. Way back in probably the late ’70s, early ’80s he was opening up and he had some issues with real estate and some language issues at that time. He overcame it.”
Amanda said, “My dad was taking English classes at Curtis High School at night. Learning the language was a challenge. What’s funny now is when we went to Italy with him in 2017 it took him a little bit to get back to the Italian. He was very keen on assimilating when he came here.”
Pat could be the life of a party, said Wonica, adding, “The guy loved to dance. He was on the floor cutting the rug. He was impressive!”
“He was constantly encouraging us to get on the dance floor, even if we weren’t into it,” said Amanda with a chuckle.
“I’ve known Pat since the ’80s,” said broker Doreen Frazer. “He was always so soft spoken and respectful, constantly seeking knowledge about the real estate industry. You could find Pat at almost all the real estate conventions. He was a director for many years and would always volunteer his services when he was needed.”
Angelo said his father was thrilled to see success and frequently gave out “high-fives.”
“In the office we celebrated any little business triumph,” said Rocío Uchofen, an associate broker at Century 21 Papp Realty.
She added, “Pat taught me several life lessons. Hard work pays, knowing your goals are important. Quality time with family is most important and that life must be lived to the fullest. His energy and happiness were uplifting.”
Uchofen said, “He will be missed. Staten Island lost a great man.”
Visitation is Wednesday Nov. 11 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Casey Funeral Home, 350 Slosson Ave. The funeral mass will be Thursday, Nov. 12, at 10:45 a.m., at St. Teresa’s Church, 1694 Victory Blvd., Castleton Corners.
Pamela Silvestri is Advance Food Editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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