Lawrence Gatta

Lawrence A. "Larry" Gatta

Monday, June 8th, 1931 - Monday, May 11th, 2020
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Lawrence A. (Larry)
Age 88, on May 11, 2020, passed away peacefully at Virtua Marlton Hospital of a stroke. Larry led a full and generous life. Born on June 8, 1931, at Broad Street Hospital, he was the middle child of Joseph Sr., and Angelina Gatta (DiPrinzio). He was preceded in death by his sister Cecelia Minieri and brother Joseph Jr. Larry grew up in what is now called Bella Vista. Living so close to St. Mary Magdeline De Pazzi Church, he was the go-to altar server for the daily 6a.m. Mass. Larry attended Archmere Academy and Southeast Catholic High School, Class of ’50, where he varsity lettered in track and bowling. Larry also attended Temple University where he studied business and accounting. He spent his entire career working at J. Gatta and Sons, a family-owned wholesale distributor of tobacco and confections, retiring in 2015. He was respected by his customers and employees alike.
Larry married his high school sweetheart Johanne (Cattalo) in 1955 at St. Frances DeSales Church in Southwest Philadelphia. Johanne preceded him in death at the age of 60 in 1995. Larry and Johanne were blessed with four devoted children, Patricia Biondi (Dr. Robert), twins Joseph (Lisa) and Anthony Gatta. The youngest, Kathryn DeBellis (Mark), completed their loving family. Larry and Johanne raised their family on Ritner Street, where the entire family would make lifelong friendships through their St. Monica Parish family. In 1978, they moved to Cherry Hill where they welcomed their family and friends for every holiday and occasion.
Family always came first for Pop, blessed and proud to be grandfather to Drew Kramer (Jamie), Lauren Moran (Kyle), J. Taylor Gatta, Devon DeBellis, Stephen DeBellis, Anthony Gatta, Alexander Gatta and Alysa Williams (Jeremy). Larry loved nothing better than watching all of his grandchildren play their sport of choice. He cheered them on from the sidelines every chance he got. Rain or shine, he sweated and froze on the fields, never complaining one bit. He was proud of each and every one of their accomplishments from the time of their birth into adulthood. Music producer, HR manager, letter carrier, business owner, chef, hospital liaison, business development manager and teacher - Pop was interested in every aspect of his grandchildren’s career.
What made his life complete was being a proud great-grandfather and Pop-Pop Larry to Reese and Levi Moran and Leona Kramer. He smiled and laughed at just the mention of their names. Larry leaves many nieces and nephews whom he loved, and they loved him back dearly.
After Johanne’s passing, his good friends on Kings Drive (Venuto, Mancini, and Petrone ) in Cherry Hill saw the loneliness he was suffering and introduced him to his longtime companion, Athena Billington. For the last 24 years of his life, they enjoyed traveling to Greece, St. Maarten, Las Vegas and the Jersey Shore where the casinos were their number one destination.
Larry’s penchant for gambling started at a young age. His father, Joseph Sr., would scour the neighborhood corners and alleyways, only to find his son with the guys shooting dice. Everyone who knew Larry knew he liked to gamble. In the 1970s and 1980s, Larry and his brother, Joe Jr., owned races horses. Family and friends enjoyed going to Garden State Park, Liberty Bell Park and Brandywine, hoping for a winner so that they could all go down to the winner’s circle for the celebratory photo. In 1978, when Resorts International opened in Atlantic City, Larry and his wife were there on opening day, dressed to the nines. When Larry won, everyone won, for he was a generous tipper.
His legacy will be one of generosity, kindness, politeness and caring. He always held the door for you and insisted on paying for everyone’s meals and parties because that’s what he enjoyed best. As a young girl, his daughter remembers the family eating at a rest stop on the turnpike. Larry got up in the middle of a family meal. He saw three Catholic nuns in their habits and went over to pay for their meals, always giving back and thinking of others.
In October 2017, Larry moved to Brandywine Living at Voorhees. He slowed his pace a bit and lived independently, meeting many new friends - Bea and Bob just to name a few. All of the staff there were his newly found extended family. He enjoyed his time there, going to Happy Hour and casino trips. He went to the movie theater there every night and brought candy for everyone. The no-tipping policy was the hardest thing for Larry to adjust to there. So instead of cash, anyone he came in contact with was tipped in candy hence his nickname “The Candyman.”
He enjoyed life to the fullest. He loved his family beyond measure, was a loyal friend and was generous and polite to a fault. When his daughter moved to the shore, he knew that going there to visit meant a casino trip or two all year round.
Due to the pandemic, his service and entombment at Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill will be private. One day in the future, we hope to have all those whom he loved and loved him celebrate together at a funeral Mass which were his wishes. In lieu of flowers and in honor of his generosity, we believe that it would have made him happy that donations be made in his name to his alma mater, Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti HS, c/o Joseph McColgan, 1736 South Tenth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148.
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Marilyn Borgersen

Posted at 01:37pm


Marilyn Borgersen Posted at 01:43pm

I,m so sorry that Larry was taken from us, he was a good friend and a kind man. Larry was always ready to help a friend no matter what it was they needed. I'm so happy you are at peace now, no more pain, God Bless Larry, I will never forget you

Stephanie & Joe S

Posted at 10:16am
Beautiful words and pictures of a beautiful life. He led by example and truly lived his best live. May he rest in peace with his loving wife. Mr. Gatta will be deeply missed. Much love and sympathy to Kathryn, Patty, Joe, Tony and the entire family for your loss.

Tony Gatta

Posted at 12:35am
Today we say goodbye to Larry Gatta.

Born in 1931 to two incredible hard-working people, they instilled in him that same work ethic that he carried with him into his early 80s. Let’s call this his first job.

Then, the lucky b*stard met and eventually married our mother Joann in 1955. His next job was being husband and protector to this Saint on Earth! They would be married for almost 40 years. We may be biased but we’ve never seen two people more in love.

In the years between 1956 and 1964 they would have four children. Girl, twin boys, girl. So now dad is holding down three jobs by adding father and provider to the list.

Some of those jobs were easier than others. And because of our mother’s chronic illness, one was painfully hard.

Time went by, his children grew older and then he was given the best job of his life, the job of Pop Pop!

But then way too soon, our father was handed the hardest job he ever had and never wanted. In March of 1995, he became a widower and the sole head of the family. Our mother’s body finally failed her and since she ran everything AND anything to do with the mechanics of our ever-growing clan, Dad was lost. He was so used to just going to work, taking care of Mom and bouncing grandkids off his knee. It took a little while but he got the hang of it.

And now, with only one job left, Larry learned to relax. Enjoy his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and spending time with Athena. They enjoyed each other’s company for more than two decades and together they got to travel the world and spend Summers down the shore.

So today, we say goodbye, to a wonderful, loving, hardworking man who never had a job he couldn’t handle. He lived an epic life. Dad may be gone from this Earth but just like our mother, he is always with us. ♥️

Posted at 09:21pm
I’m blessed to have known Larry though only for a short time. I started as the Wellness Director at brandywine Voorhees last August .Larry made a significant impact on me and was a gentlemen through and through.
Every single time we entered or exited the elevator he ALWAYS stepped aside and motioned me to go first. Anytime Larry was getting ready to leave his apartment he made sure every hair on his head was perfect, his clothes just right and of course his cologne. I would tease him and ask him if he was getting ready for the Prom. He would chuckle and give me one of his huge smiles ! You could not leave Larry’s apartment without taking a piece of candy whether your waistline needed it or not. I never wanted to hurt Larry’s feelings and knew it made him happy to share his candy!! Rest In Peace my friend! You will surely be missed!! Xo

Tony Gatta Posted at 12:33am

Thank you for the kind words about our father and thank you for everything that you have done for him


Posted at 10:25pm
This is an excerpt of Dad’s eulogy

Identity, I read that we all have two of them.
Life identity and Earthly identity.
Life identity is known only to the individual and God.
Earthly identity is a celebration of how a person spent his time that we measure in minutes, hours, days and years, from our first thought until our last breath. It is a complex series of how we lived and who it impacted.
Dad’s identity or for a better word legacy is impeccable. His love for his soulmate and children was the driving force of his life. He cherished his close friends as family. He was kind and generous, hardworking and a fierce competitor. He had everything except what many strive, an ego. Dad was humble even though he had the life and success.
Dad we love you and thank you for instilling in all of us how to truly live a good life.

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