Baldassare “Ben” Licata of Warwick passed away Friday, July 3, 2020, at the age of 87.
Ben was born Aug. 31, 1932, in New York City to Gaetano and Brigida Bentivegna Licata.
Ben is survived by his wife Suzanne Licata; his children: Guy (Rosanne), Mitchell (Caren), Ronald (Angela), Craig (Maureen), Chris (Natalie), Scott (Kathy) Clifford and Vicki (Justin) Wolf; as well as his beloved grandchildren, Gaetano, ToniAnn, Michael, Anthony, Ryder John, Hayley, Reagan, Ian, Ashley, Samantha, Allie, Megan and Patrick; and three great-grandchildren: Kayson, Diana-Gray and Elliot.
Ben moved from Whitestone to Warwick to be with his wife, Suzanne, who was a teacher at the Warwick Valley Middle School. He loved cooking for her and her family, and they all can attest to the fact that he made the best “meatballs and gravy” and chicken cutlets around.
Ben and Suzanne travelled often, visiting the town where his family originated, Sciacca in Sicily, as well as Ireland, Italy and frequent trips to California, Florida and Virginia.
Outside of Suzanne, Ben’s favorite Warwickian was his granddaughter Allie. He enjoyed playing games with her, providing her with an audience at all times, making her egg creams and cooking her favorite food, PopPop Chicken. He was the President of Allie’s Fan Club from the moment she was born and the position will retired with his passing, as no one can possibly fill his shoes.
Ben loved to read suspense novels and had a constant rotation of books on loan from the Albert Wisner Public Library. His favorite local restaurants were Cena 2000 in Newburgh and Luca’s in Warwick.
If Ben said a book or a restaurant was good, it was a sure thing.
Ben participated in the Meals on Wheels program in Warwick was one of the few people we know who actually loved to go food shopping. He had a standing date at ShopRite every Wednesday.
A former restauranteur and a retired seafood manager at Waldbaum’s Supermarkets in Bayside, his desire to feed people was a great passion that carried on long after he stopped working. Many friends and family benefited from his love of food and he found great joy in sharing his talent.
Planning to remodeling your bathroom? Need help making a window-sized hole in the side of your house? Want to install a newfangled lighting system?
Ben was always quick to volunteer his services and was happy to pass his knowledge on to all of the men in the family. No project was completed without an entertaining story, though, many of which will be shared for years to come.
Ben was pre-deceased by his first wife, Nina Ferraro Licata, in 1996, and his brother, Joseph Licata, in 2010.
Ben’s life was celebrated on July 8, at Scarr Funeral Home, Inc., in Suffern. Ben’s Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on July 9 at Sacred Heart Church in Suffern.
Entombment followed at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne.
Diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) in 2007, Ben bravely volunteered to participate in a research program to help find a cure, which his family believes helped extend his life by many years.
In lieu of flowers the family has asked for donations in Ben’s name to support this wonderful program. Please make checks out to the Trustees of Columbia University, with the subject memo saying (MDS) Myelodysplastic Syndrome Research. Please mail to Azra Raza M.D. Director, MDS Center Columbia University Medical Center Milstein Hospital Center 6 N- 435 177 Fort Washington Avenue , New York, NY 10032. All donations are greatly appreciated.