Ex-Councilman Remembered for His Service to Others

Friends and family attend Mass for Vito Castoro, the man behind the borough's Winter Wonderland and other civic events.

Nearly 150 friends and family gathered Saturday to pay their respects to Vito Castoro, a local man known for his dedication and service to the lakeside borough.

Castoro died Thursday at St. Clare’s Hospital in Dover. He was 79.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he lived in Hopatcong for 46 years. He served on the Hopatcong Town Council  from 1998 to 2000 and was an active member of the Hopatcong Business League (HBL).

He was the owner and operator of Sign Art Graphics in Hopatcong.

In a simple Catholic Mass at St. Jude’s Roman Catholic Parish, Castoro was remembered by Rev. George Gothie as a man who served his community, following the example set by Jesus Christ.

“He was a servant in the fullest sense of the word,” Gothie said. “We should reflect on what it is to be the servant of all.”

Officials and business associates recalled Castoro’s spirit and community work earlier this week.

“He wanted to build community spirit in a small town,“ Mayor Sylvia Petillo said.

Councilman Michael Francis said Castoro was instrumental the development of  Modrick Park and Hudson Glen, a borough park to which he dedicated many hours and funds.

Castoro was also a key supporter of Hopatcong Day, an annual festival, and the driving force behind the townhip's annual Christmas display.

Councilman John Young said, “He left his mark on town government and the business community."

HBL President Bob Winegar said Castoro’s leadership helped the community focus on activities for the region’s children.

The Christmas displays, the expansive Winter Wonderland, the Halloween parade, and other events were all designed to bring the community together for the children, and got the business owners to focus on common success, he said.

Castoro was also a friend to many, officials said.

“As a friend there was no one better,” Francis said. “He was a friend to the borough and personally. If you came to him with a problem, he’d ask what he could do to help. Vito was a good person.”

Castoro is survived by his wife of 55 years, Millie; a son, Michael; and a daughter, Diane Lounsbery.

Castoro was buried at Stanhope Union Cemetery in Mt. Olive.

In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations in his memory be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or online on the hospital's website.

Lilacs September 30, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Rest in peace Mr. Castoro. Thank you for all you did to brighten the faces of all the children in town around Christmas and Halloween. Such a great man. Bless you and your family.
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