John A. “Cookie” Vaccarella, age 91 of Hammonton, passed away peacefully, Friday, September 8, 2017 at home with his loving family by his side. He was born and raised in Hammonton, and attended Hammonton schools before entering the Army and serving as a Corporal during World War II. A Bronze Star recipient, his tour of duty took him to Germany to serve in the Battle of the Bulge. He was an active member of the 78th Lightning Division, and took numerous trips around the US and Europe to reunite with his Army buddies, often taking his family along to share the experiences. As a young man he played on the local football team “The Hammonton Peaches”. As a young father, John coached Varga’s Little League baseball team and was a member of HHS Blue Devils Booster Club. In later years he was inducted into the HHS Sports Hall of Fame. John enjoyed membership in the St. John the Baptist Society, the Never There Gun Club, and served on the Shade Tree Commission.
John was a union cement finisher with the HGL Union Local #172. For him, his street curbs and sidewalks were professional works of art and skill. He would often drive his family around South Jersey on Sunday afternoons to show off his handiwork in different towns. One good example of John’s craft is the cement and brick work around the Christopher Columbus Monument on the corner of Egg Harbor Rd. and Vine St. John was always proud to say he was a Hammontonian and was very active in his beloved hometown. His passions were gardening, making wine, horse races, and dancing. He was well known for his prized fig tree and homemade wine.
John was the youngest of 10 children. He was born, raised, and passed away in the big white house on Chew Rd. Three generations of his family were raised in this house: John, his children, and his grandchildren. He is predeceased by his parents Anthony and Josephine (Macri), his loving wife Anne D. (nee LaVacchia ), sister Lena Pietrofitta-Schiavone, and brothers Joseph, Nein, Frank, and Sam Vaccarella. He is survived by his brother Leon “Ollie” Vaccarella (Annetta); children, Debra Woodruff (Tom), John A. Vaccarella, Jr. (Louann), and Gayle Edwards (Gerald “Spike”). Loving grandfather of Kelly DeFelice (Sam), Alyson Pandolfini (Darren), Coralee Dixon (Brian Williams), Carrie and Tommy Woodruff. Great grandfather of Mia and Lorenzo Pandolfini and Daisy and Ginny Williams. And many loving nieces and nephews.
John’s greatest joy was his family and friends. He was at his happiest when he could host a big celebration with the people he loved. Family and friends are invited to attend his viewing Thursday, September 14, from 6:00pm – 8:00pm and Friday, September 15, from 9:30am – 10:30am at the Marinella Funeral Home, 102 N. 3rd Street, Hammonton. Mass of Christian Burial 11:00am at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish – St. Joseph Church, 3rd & French Streets, Hammonton. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 124 S. First Rd., Hammonton. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to the J. Edward Kelley Society, PO Box 1274, Keyser, WV 26726.