Mario Garofalo Family Fund
In 1937, Elisa Tucci Garofalo traveled to Derby, CT, from Marzi, Italy with her two young children, to join Rosario, her husband, who had preceded the rest of his family to start a new life for them in America. A little more than 9 months to the day of the young family’s arrival, a third child, Mario Garofalo was born. From his early years, it became obvious that Mario cared deeply about his family and his community. In 1965, he married Barbara Jean Tiano and together they lived in Derby where they raised their three children.
Mario was a U.S. Army Veteran, serving from 1957 to 1959, and again in 1961-62 during the Berlin Air Crisis, with the 82nd Airborne Division. Mario joined the Connecticut State Police Department in 1966, retiring as a Detective some 23 years later. During those years, he received degrees in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven, and went on to earn a Master’s Degree from SCSU. Mario held several safety and security positions upon his retirement from the State Police Force, and also operated as a Connecticut licensed private investigator.
Mario was a loving husband and father who had a deep involvement in Valley activities. He was dedicated to his children, never missing their athletic games or other activities anywhere across the state, and always arriving with food and a positive attitude for everyone.
He was a long time Commissioner with the Derby Recreation Department Girl’s Basketball and Softball Leagues. Mario loved working with kids and could always be found coaching, umpiring and refereeing youth sports. He lived his life based on the underlying principle of service to others, particularly children. He was also active in the annual summer festivals of both St. Michael’s and St. Mary’s churches.
Mario’s love for his family and community spanned decades, but was cut short when he passed away suddenly at age 61. As his 75th birthday anniversary approaches, his family is honoring Mario through the establishment of the Mario Garofalo Family Fund, created through generous donations of family and friends. They designed this endowed Donor Advised Fund to support youth activities for children residing in Derby and throughout the Valley, to give them a chance to experience things that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to do.
“We created the Fund to honor the memory of our loving husband and father, who sincerely cared about every child he ever met,” said Barbara Jean Garofalo. “He made a special mark in each of their hearts and lives through his natural ability to coach, guide, believe in, and love children. We want to keep his memory alive by helping Valley young people. In this way, we can “Give Kids a Chance” they might not otherwise have, and better enable them to become accomplished in their pursuits. The Valley is like family, and when you grow up here, you never forget where you come from. This is a wonderful way to honor Mario’s memory - by giving to others.”