NAUGATUCK — Anthony Francis D’Amato, 72, died peacefully, yet unexpectedly, at St. Mary’s Hospital on Christmas Eve.
He is survived by his wife, Jamie D’Amato; mother, Cathryn (Calabrese) D’Amato; sister, Judy Ouellette; beloved daughters, Stephanie Nortman and Lindsey D’Amato; and two grandchildren, Jack and Francesca Nortman. He is predeceased by his father, Albert D’Amato.
Anthony leaves behind his stepchildren, Casey Nicholson and her daughters; Jeremy Nixon and his sons; and Chloe Nixon; his mother-in-law, Arline Best; as well as Jamie’s brothers and their wives and children. He is also survived by his former wife, Carol D’Amato, and his longtime friends, Reggie Brulotte and Alan D’Amato (cousin).
Anthony was born on April 24, 1948, into a large Italian family in West Haven. He grew up surrounded by cousins who would remain his friends throughout his life. From the day he was born, Anthony was an avid woodsman, preferring the solitude of the wilderness to social gatherings. He grew up hunting with his dad, a hobby he continued until right before his passing. He loved collecting firearms and coins. Anthony was an innate dog lover, having owned myriad of dogs throughout his life. A year ago, he brought home two Brittany puppies, Ralph and Alice, who brought such joy to him, particularly on his two-week hunting trip in November. He was very proud of how well they hunted, and he talked endlessly about them.
He attended St. Lawrence School in West Haven, Notre Dame High School, West Haven, Class of 1966, St. Michael’s College, Colchester, Vt., Class of 1972. He earned a master’s degree in education from Southern Connecticut State University, and served in the National Guard as an MP and shared fond memories of time served. He was a proud patriot, American, and chef of Italian cuisine who insisted he made the best sauce. Anthony taught middle school science in East Haven for seven years and then became a mainframe programmer at Travelers Insurance Company and United Healthcare for close to 40 years before retiring a few years ago.
Anthony was deeply loved by his family and friends and will be missed dearly. When saying goodbye, he would always say, “Take it easy.” We will remember that sentiment now more than ever as a reminder to not dwell on his passing with sadness. He would want us to be kind to ourselves and others, even in the most difficult of times.
Services will be private, but the family hopes to hold a memorial this summer. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Buckmiller Thurston Mengacci Funeral Home, 82 Fairview Ave., Naugatuck.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516, a cause he was passionate about.
To leave an online condolence, visit www.buckmillerthurstonmengacci.com.