James “Jimmy” Mazzitelli a fixture of the Five Towns community, and the owner of Mazzitelli Construction, a company based in Atlantic Beach, died on July 8. He was 70.
Mazzitelli grew up in Far Rockaway before moving to Lawrence and eventually Atlantic Beach with his wife, Carmela, who he married in 1969. The couple had four children, James Jr., Kim, Joseph and Christina, who died in a 1995 car crash. The family grew with the addition of eight grandchildren: Stella, Ronin, James, Nina, Ayla, Nola, Demi and Mina.
Mazzitelli Construction, at 171 Albany Blvd., Atlantic Beach, was founded in August of 1985, according to the Better Business Bureau. The company has built many high-end homes throughout the Five Towns in its nearly 33 years.
After his daughter’s death, Mazzitelli built the dance studio and art gallery at Lawrence High School, Christina’s alma mater. The two facilities are now known as the Christina Mazzitelli Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, and a scholarship fund has been created in her name.
“Jimmy and his family were outstanding friends to the Lawrence School District,” said Lawrence Superintendent Dr. Ann Pedersen. “Over the years, he worked closely with Gary Schall (the recently retired superintendent) to enhance the art and dance studios at the high school in memory of his daughter, Christina.”
The studio, which opened in 1999, features a large mirrored space, cushioned wood floors and ballet barres, while the gallery, inspired by Manhattan art galleries, has track lighting, piped-in classical music and art by the students displayed on the walls and on pedestals.
Schall noted that the Mazzitelli family also sponsored the district’s music department’s performance trips to Disney. “Thanks to Jimmy and Carmela, the art gallery and dance studio became the centerpieces for the high school, and the thriving arts programs in Lawrence. Their generosity extended far beyond these magnificent showcases for the arts and reflect their close connection to the students in Lawrence,” he said. “Christina’s memory was a catalyst for achievement in the arts. With Jimmy’s passing, his memory along with Christina’s will continue to be at the heart of artistic endeavor and achievement in Lawrence.”
Besides being a supporter of the arts, Carmela said that her husband also enjoyed playing billiards and going fishing. Ann DeMichael, Mazzitelli’s older sister, said that she helped to raise him after their mother died at 55. “He was my little brother and I loved him very dearly,” she said. “He was very special to me, and he would go out of his way to call me on the phone every day.”
Services were held at Macken Mortuary in Island Park, on July 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. and July 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Inwood at 10 a.m. on July 12. He was interred at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury, next to Christina.
The family has requested that donations be made to the scholarship fund of Christina Mazzitelli in James’ name. Call (516) 295-7098.