Vincent Cardarelli

Obituary of Vincent B. Cardarelli

Vincent “BigDa” Cardarelli (95), a long time resident of Clinton, New Jersey, died peacefully on April 27, 2024 supported and surrounded by the love of his family and friends. Born in 1928 to Jacob and Emma (Gara) Cardarelli, Vincent grew up in Raritan, NJ and entered the Roman Catholic priesthood after attending seminary. He served many different churches in New Jersey during the seventeen years he was active, before leaving the clergy to marry his wife Caroline. Vincent settled in Clinton, becoming a well respected therapist at the Hunterdon Medical Center and afterward, in private practice. He helped thousands of people beat alcohol and drug addiction and repair their marriages through his “solution focused, brief therapy.” Because of these two careers, it was nearly impossible to travel with him anywhere within Hunterdon County without being stopped by people who hugged and thanked him for the profound impact he had on their lives, the lives of their parents, and even the lives of their grandparents. His proudest accomplishment, however, was raising his daughter and welcoming her family into his home becoming “BigDa” to his grandchildren, helping provide for them and raise them for the remainder of his life.

Vince, always humble, lived his life, never thinking of it as particularly remarkable at all; his family knew better, though. He was very much larger than life. Here are just a few of the things that made him special:

● In 1958 while serving as a priest in Trenton, NJ, he saved the lives of two nuns who had been shot, shielding them with his own body until the shooter could be subdued.
● A few years later, he was granted an audience with Pope John Paul XXIII at the Vatican in Rome to discuss church reform.
● He obtained a master’s degree in counseling from Princeton Theological Seminary.
● Upon beginning his counseling practice, he became a frequent contributor to local newspapers and radio stations, talking and writing on mental health issues, lectured extensively on mental health topics, and taught in colleges and in a residence program for 10 years. He was also very well known in the AA and Al-Anon communities.
● He was a talented ballroom dancer and traveled on cruise ships as a gentleman host, dancing his way around the world and making the ladies swoon!
● In 2005, he published a collection of his essays in a book entitled “Toward Serenity.”
● Vince volunteered with the Raritan Valley Community College theater program for many years, and was happiest when greeting people at the door before shows to take tickets and help them to their seats.
● From time to time, Vince went to school and had lunch with his grandkids when they were little, especially when they were having bad days, to make sure they felt loved.

Vincent was predeceased by his wife, Caroline, in 1981, his sister, Antoinette Andresen in 2021 and brother-in- law Robert, in 2019, both of Raritan, niece, Celeste Andresen (Jim) of Sedona, Arizona, in 2020, and stepson Robert Traina of Ft. Meyers, Florida in 2021.

He is survived by his beloved daughter Aimee (Wolsko) and son-in-law Darrin, and his step-daughter, Julie Kaczkowski (Matthew) of Big Pine Key, Florida, and by the two most important people in his life, his grandchildren, James, 21, and Henry, 11. He is also survived by many nephews and nieces and their families, and his loving partner of nearly 25 years, Janet DePaolo. His loss is also keenly felt by countless close friends.

In lieu of flowers or donations, Aimee requests that anyone close to Vincent with a story to tell please send a note to the family with a personal anecdote so it can be included in a memory book for a family gathering to be
held at a future date.

A Gathering of Family and Friends will be held on Thursday May 2nd, 2024 from 5pm until 7pm at Martin Funeral Home located at 1761 Route 31, Clinton, New Jersey, 08809. 



Gathering of Family and Friends

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thursday, May 2, 2024
Martin Funeral Home
1761 Route 31
Clinton, New Jersey, United States
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