Stephen J. Valastro Sr. of Monroe passed away on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, at Garnet Health Medical Center in the Town of Wallkill with loving family at his side. He was 91 years old.
The son of John and Grace Puglisi Valastro, he was born on May 3, 1929, in Chester.
Stephen grew up working on his family’s farm on the Chester black dirt in the era preceding running water and electric. He worked hard to provide for his family through the economic turmoil of the 1930s. His favorite story about driving a farm truck through Chester at 9 years old has been shared countless times.
Stephen was a proud student at Saint Columba in Chester but dropped out early to work full-time in support of the family. Perhaps his most proud achievement was receiving his high school diploma in 2003 at the age of 74.
Stephen proudly served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. After his honorable discharge he opened his own business, S.J. Valastro Plumbing and Heating Inc. in Monroe and served as its president for more than 60 years. He was also a longtime member of the Sacred Heart Church in Monroe.
Stephen devoted his life to being a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Family was his everything.
One of his favorite pastimes was traveling with his wife, Evelyn, in their motor home. They made innumerable trips cross country, but his favorite places of all time were Lake George, where they spent their honeymoon in 1949, and Branson, Missouri, where his love of country music had a home.
His favorite time of the year was the summer: Fourth of July clam bakes were followed closely by the annual family and friends camping trip to Lake George. He also enjoyed spending time in his Florida house, bowling on local leagues and days spent on the golf course with good friends and family.
Even after retiring, Stephen could always be found tinkering with air conditioning units or anything else around the house. Anything that could be made out of sheet metal was made out of sheet metal. His favorite “fix it” items were, however, a roll of duct tape and a black Sharpie.
Stephen will always be remembered driving around town with Patsy Cline or George Strait on the radio of his red pickup truck or white Lincoln – both of which proudly sported Marine paraphernalia.
Stephen is survived by his children: Stephen J. Valastro Jr. and his wife Lesa of Montgomery; Elizabeth Mahin and her husband Jeff of St. Augustine, Fla.; John Valastro and his wife Juanita of St. Augustine, Fla; and Melissa Rallo and her husband Jack of Chester; his siblings: Tony Valastro of Monroe, Mary Babcock of Bloomingburg and Lorraine Jados of Chester; his grandchildren: Nicholas, Christopher, Stephen, Jeffery, Nicole, Cameron, Shawn, Daniel, Michael and Jessica; and his great grandchildren: Christian, Kira, Everly and Enzo.
Stephen is predeceased by his loving wife of 70 years, Evelyn Barr Valastro, and his sister Grace Banick.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank Stephen’s sister-in-law, Mary Lou Garew, for her never-ending support. They would also like to send sincere appreciation to his caregivers Susie, Joanne, Alisha and Nadya for all the loving care they gave him.
After Evelyn’s passing in May, Susie moved in and assumed the role of his primary caretaker. She, her boyfriend Dave and their dog Drax – Stephen’s best buddy – brought joy to him in his time of sadness. Susie’s uplifting spirit filled Stephen’s last months with countless laughs and for that we are forever grateful.
Stephen also adored Karen Cocks-Jones for always making sure his hair was high and tight.
Finally, the family would like to express their sincerest gratitude to Dr. Amnot and the Horizon Family Medical Group, Good Samaritan Home Care, especially Nurse Jess with whom he enjoyed many laughs, and Garnet Health Medical Center for the care and comfort they provided until his passing.
A private visitation for family and friends will be held at the Valastro home. A Funeral Mass celebrating the lives of both Stephen and Evelyn will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4, at Sacred Heart Church, 26 Still Road, Monroe.
Interment will follow at Orange County Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Goshen.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be limited occupancy and we ask you to please adhere to the state regulations regarding face masks and distancing.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Monroe Volunteer Ambulance Corps: P.O. Box 841, Monroe, NY 10949 or www.monroeems.org (for online donations, please note “In Loving Memory of Stephen” as a special instruction).
Arrangements by Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush, Inc. Funeral Home (845-782-8185; www.ssqfuneralhome.com).