Thomas Conte

Thomas Conte

Friday, September 8th, 1933 - Saturday, May 16th, 2020
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Thomas Conte, Age 86, of Nesconset, N.Y., passed away peacefully in his home on May 16, 2020. Thomas was the beloved husband of Marie Conte, whom he was happily married to for 67 years. Thomas was the loving father of his four children, Gary (Victoria), Doreen Gulotta, Thomas (Rosemarie) and Andrea (Ralph) Marra. Thomas was the cherished grandfather of his seven grandchildren, Michelle, David, Adam, Matthew, Allyse, Danielle and Anthony. He was the adored great-grandfather of his four great-grandchildren, Jonathan, Abigail, Giovanni, and Dean. Our adored Thomas will forever be in our hearts and most precious memories.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, May 22nd, 2020 | 3:00pm - 7:00pm
    Friday, May 22nd, 2020 3:00pm - 7:00pm
    Branch Funeral Home
    190 East Main Street
    Smithtown, NY 11787
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Visitation is private for family only.
  • Service

    Friday, May 22nd, 2020 | 6:00pm
    Friday, May 22nd, 2020 6:00pm
    Branch Funeral Home
    190 East Main Street
    Smithtown, NY 11787
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Service is private for family only. The services can be viewed by livestream by going to photos and videos tab.
  • Interment

    Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
    3442 Route 112.
    CORAM, NY 11727
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Private Condolence

Doreen Gulotta

Posted at 01:29pm
Our beloved father joined our loving mother on Saturday, May 16th, in God’s heavenly kingdom. We know the Lord welcomed our father with open arms because of the amazing man that he was.

How do we begin to talk about a man whose life was devoted to his family? Our father came to this country by himself when he was 16 years old from a small town which he was named after, San Tomasso, in Abruzzo, Italy. Dad came here with one suitcase that had one suit and a few pieces of clothing and in dad’s words “a couple of bucks…nothing.” Dad shared with us that it took 13 days for him to get to Ellis Island, and he was sick for most of time because of the tremendous waves and the room according to dad was the size of a kitchen table. When dad arrived in America he lived with his uncle and his 15 cousins in a two-room house on Metropolitan Avenue in Queens. He went immediately to work for his uncle in the construction business. Dad used to say that you could always tell who got up first in the morning because they would be the one that was the best dressed! Soon after our dad came, he met our mother through one of his 15 cousins. Dad was 18 years old, and our mother was 16. They fell deeply in love instantaneously and were married 2 years later. By the time our dad was 28 years old, he was the proud father of us 4 children. From the minute that we were born, our dad turned into our provider, our protector, our teacher, our role model, and our friend.

Our dad’s devotion to his family, led him to open his own excavation company to provide for us throughout the years. Our father had an incredible work ethic. Our father’s business deals would be made with a handshake because that was the honest, trusting man that he was. He labored long strenuous hours to give us everything that we ever needed. If he couldn’t do excavation in the winter months, he would plow snow through the nights on his Big Mac Truck, many times taking Gary and Thomas. Not only was our dad a skilled excavator, but he was a jack of all trades. We never needed a plumber, electrician, or construction worker because dad did it all. In fact, our father designed and helped build our home, which he was so proud of. If we couldn’t find dad, he would be walking around our acre and a half of property admiring its beauty, especially the berm in the front of our house which he landscaped himself.

Our dad didn’t have the opportunity to further his education, so he wanted to make sure we focused on ours. Education was important to dad, so he made sure he provided us the opportunity to go to college. In fact, not only did dad pay for all our educations by working long hours, but he bought us our cars and paid for our car insurances to make sure that nothing distracted us from our studies!

The lessons that we learned from our loving father were taught to us through example and were so valuable throughout our lives. Most important to him was to instill the meaning of respect in his children. Dad would say with his Italian accent, “If you don’t have respect, you don’t have nothing.” Throughout our childhood and adulthood, dad continued to remind us to always treat people with respect, and he, the gentleman that he was, would display it no matter who he was with or where he was. This was one of dad’s amazing qualities that made him such a wonderful man. He was deeply loved by us and by so many others for a multitude of reasons.

Dad was gentle at heart. He was kind and willing to help anyone in need with no expectations in return. His smile radiated, as did his positive attitude and outlook on life. Dad was selfless and generous to a fault. Our father always saw the beauty in things, especially in our mom. Dad would always say how beautiful our mom was and give her a “smooch” as he would call it, every day and before bed every night, and our mom’s eyes would tell him how much she loved him. Our dad was always a great listener and would calmly and thoughtfully offer his advice. He truly cared about everyone’s well-being.

As serious that dad was about instilling the idea of respect in his children, he had such a fun side! Our father was a child at heart. Dad took mom to Coney Island from when they started dating, and in his words, “What I made, I spent on Marie.” Dad continued this tradition of taking us to Coney Island every summer, and besides loving his raw clams on the boardwalk, he would love to take us on one of his favorite rides, the Wonder Wheel. Dad would shake the carts when we were at the highest point, and even though we all screamed with anticipation, we loved every minute of it! Another funny memory about our dad was when he tried to teach us how to use our new skis on the hill in our front yard. Unfortunately, he went down soon after those skis went on his feet! Dad’s kid - like side included us piling up in the station wagon and taking us to Adirondack Drive where the hills were so large that we would pop out of our seats and hit our heads on the ceiling of the car! After our fun filled rides, dad would end our excursion with a visit to Carvel!

Our father loved nature. As a family, we would watch Wild Kingdom every Sunday night. Dad would feed the wild rabbits on our property and wasn’t bothered by the fact that they were eating from his amazing vegetable garden. He would bring home wild animals that he would find on his excavation sites. Although mom wasn’t thrilled with this, we loved it! Once he brought home a wild duck that ran through our house when dad let it loose. Dad also brought home rabbits that he initially told us he was going to cook because they were delicious! Of course, the compassionate man that our dad was, he did not have the heart to do what he intended to do, and we wound up having rabbits as pets! Our favorite memory though, is when our dad came home with our first dog hidden under his coat jacket, just like he would hide the Hersey bars he brought home to us all the time.

Like our mother, dad loved his music. As children, he would bring us to New York City to see Broadway musicals and musicals at Jones Beach and Westbury Music Fair too. We watched Rogers and Hammerstein musicals at home as a family, and our dad would have a beautiful content smile on his face. Mario Lanza though, was our dad’s favorite. He would play his Mario Lanza music every Sunday morning before and after church. Mom would be cooking the sauce because no matter what, Sunday was pasta day, our dad’s favorite food.

And of course, you couldn’t eat pasta without a glass of wine. Our father took pride in his Italian heritage and expressed that pride in the wine he made. When dad’s wine had finished fermenting and was ready to drink, he would pour it in his wine glass and hold it up to the light to admire its qualities. He was so proud and rightfully so because it was always delicious and was made with love. In fact, he even used it in all his cooking! Although mom did all the cooking, dad was in-charge of the meats! In an Italian household, that’s an important job! Dad took pride in how he prepared the meats, especially for the holidays. The cost of his fresh herbs to season the meat, was probably more than the cost of the meat itself! And then dad in his apron, added the remaining seasoning ingredient, vino!

There is so much more that could be said about our incredible dad, the honorable man that he was. We will forever appreciate his love and devotion to his family, his selflessness and how hard he worked to provide for us all. Dad, you will forever be in our hearts and in our most precious memories. There will always be a part of you and mom in all of us. We know that you both are now looking down on us from heaven, as you are embraced in each other’s arms. God blessed us in abundance when he chose you both to be our parents, who gave us the foundation and ultimate example of the unity and unconditional love of family.

With Love Forever,
Gary, Doreen, Thomas and Andrea

Matthew Gulotta

Posted at 01:24pm
The story of Grandpa’s life is a true inspiration. You can just marvel at the man he was and what he’s accomplished throughout his life. And then you hear what everyone is saying about him…his qualities that made him so loved by so many, his devotion, his love, his kindness, his infectious laugh and smile; and because of his experiences, morals, values and love, he was always a dependable and strong figure for the entire family.

For us (Allyse and I), Grandpa was a father figure – for as long as we can remember, he was always there – always a part of our lives.

We were fortunate to essentially live with them through our entire childhood…the majority of my childhood memories involved Grandma & Grandpa. Even from when I was a young child, when I was afraid of the dark, Grandpa would take me outside night after night, holding my hand and walk with me in the dark, assuring me there’s nothing to be afraid of. Eventually, I didn’t need his hand to hold or even the walks weren’t a necessity, but we walked around the property almost every night together that entire summer. We spent a lot of time together, and growing up, he really took the time to teach me a lot of life lessons…taught me respect (if I didn’t say please, thank you or hold the door for Grandma, he’d twist my ear), taught me work ethic (if I didn’t help him rake the leaves or trim the hedges, he’d twist my ear), he taught me to take pride in what you do and to always do it 100% as he would say.

He was meticulous about everything. From his tools maintenance, to his home – and he had A LOT of pride in his home – but he was even meticulous about his clothes. He taught me how to iron a variety of clothing, from undershirts, to jeans, to dress pants and button down shirts and I still iron my clothes to this day the way that he showed me. He was also meticulous about his process to make wine. I was lucky to be his helpful hand over the years – from driving with him to pick up the grapes, making the wine, preparing it for fermentation, to the final taste test which he’d always sneak me a sip of the final product, with the condition that I don’t tell my mother. I’m fortunate to have these vivid memories that I will forever cherish.

Grandpa has also helped me out whenever I was in a bind. Being that he drove trucks all around Queens, NYC and Long Island, Grandpa was a human GPS machine - whenever I got lost (obviously before GPS’), I would simply call Grandpa and he’d get me on my way. This happened more times than I’d like to admit. One thing that he did that I will forever appreciate, was when I got my job at the Ducks in Central Islip, and then even at the Mets in Queens, Grandpa would take me on practice drives so that I felt comfortable to get their on my own.

Aside from living on the same property until I was 15, a few years later I moved in to the apartment underneath them. With that, Grandpa remained a huge part of my adult life. We would eat dinner together regularly, watch tv together, play cards together, confide in each other. Going to church, cooking alongside him (even getting the opportunity to make polenta with him), flavoring and cutting the meats at the holidays, shooting the basketball underhanded, scratching off lotto tickets, going into moms house when she wasn’t home to throw stuff out without her knowing (because he hated how much she’d hold on to and save)…the list goes on and on…these are all memories I consistently think of that bring a smile to my face.

Later in life Grandpa became more of a friend. We’d talk work, life, family…he was just so genuine with everything he would ask or say. Grandpa was such a cool guy too – my friends and I would make plans to go out for a few drinks, watch whatever game is on the TV, and ask Grandpa if he wanted to come along. I’d tell them I’m bringing grandpa and they’d frankly get excited. They’d love to hear his stories, talk with him, egg him on to flirt with the waitress or bartender, but he’d always say Marie is waiting home for me. He was a character who loved to laugh and have a night out with the boys.

Grandpa – you are my role model and my inspiration. You protected us, looked after us, loved ALL of us, taught us never to settle and strive to be excellent. You always pushed us and for that I thank you. The values and qualities you taught and instilled in my life shaped me to be the man I am today. I always made decisions with the intent of making you proud, and I am honored to have the experiences and relationship that I had with you. Still to this day, some of my proudest moments in life has been working alongside you. I am grateful for all of my time spent and memories made with you, and the best tribute that I think I can pay to you, is by passing everything you taught and instilled in me in to my son. Thank you, Grandpa, for everything.

I will forever love you.

Allyse Gulotta

Posted at 01:16pm
My Dear Grandpa,

I don’t know how to put into words my gratitude or love for you. You have always been so perfect to me in every single way.

Thank you for always protecting Mamma, Matthew and I. You would always come upstairs to our house to make sure we were safe, or of course, to fix anything we needed. You always took our safety in your own hands. I remember the first day Mamma, Grandma, and you agreed to allow Matthew and I to get off the school bus independently. When we got off the bus, we saw you hiding in the bushes and watching us until we walked up the driveway into Mamma’s house. We pretended not to see you because we knew you were protecting us. This is a perfect example of you stepping in as a father figure for Matthew and I. I will forever be grateful for the countless times you have done so. I know you will continue to protect us eternally.

I will miss our breakfast, lunch, or dinner dates. Some dates, we decided to stay in. Especially if Grandma wasn’t feeling well because you would not want to leave her side. That’s another example of the amazing man you were. Other dates, we decided to go out. My favorite part is when you would introduce me to our waiter. If our waiter was older, you’d introduce me as your daughter. But, if our waiter was younger, you’d introduce me as your girlfriend. No matter what kind of date we were on, it was always filled with your loving advice, your words of wisdom, your guidance, or your incredible stories of Italy. You helped shape me into the woman I am today. I will forever hold your words in my heart.

I will miss hearing your voice. Your famous Grandpa expressions such as, “You know”, “I have no idea”, “A little bit of this, a little bit of that”, and “Are you kidding?” will forever make me laugh. I will miss hearing you say “I’m sorry”, “Thank you”, and “I love you”. You always had the best manners. The thought of your beautiful Italian accent and your unrestrained chuckle will forever light up my world.

Thank you for showing me what true love is. Grandma was always the topic of conversation you loved to speak about most. I know that you are smooching Grandma in Heaven, just like you always would here on Earth. Your actions and devotion showed me how a woman should be treated and your last action in life showed me that true love is something more powerful than what we could ever understand. You made me strive to find a love like yours.

When I was 14 years old, you and Grandma blessed me with a life-changing opportunity and took me to Italy. We spent over a month together traveling the country, visiting your family, the room you were born in, the church you were baptized in, and so much more than what I could have ever imagined. When your paesani heard that Tomasso Conte was back in town, everyone came out to see you. They embraced you while crying tears of joy. At the time, you haven’t seen some of these people since you were 16 years old. I stood there witnessing this reunion while thinking to myself that I am the luckiest girl to have you, such a loved man with the purest soul, as my Nonno.

You instilled my pride to be Italian. I dedicated my studies and my career to be an Italian teacher to you, my Grandpa. Thank you for teaching me everything I know about our culture and it’s language. I will miss our weekly calls and visits just to speak Italian to each other. Grandpa always told me that we would return to Italy together once more. Then, as Grandma got more sick, Grandpa told me that he could never leave her and we will have to say Goodbye to Italy another time. In my heart, I know you and Grandma are now riding together on that gondola that you both so much enjoyed. I promise to carry on your legacy and teach my own children our language and culture.

In the words of Andrea Bocelli, “Vorrei averti sempre qui al mio fianco. Sono certo ci incontreremo di nuovo.” “I wish I always had you here by my side. I'm sure, we will meet once again.”

Ti vorrò sempre bene, mio caro nonno. I will always love you, my dear Grandpa.

Love Always,
Your Little Chicken, Allyse

Danielle Rifkin

Posted at 08:34pm
My Grandpa Tommy was always an amazing role model. As a little girl, it was so easy to see him as this knight in shining armor. He was strong but always gentle, and noble, and chivalrous, and good. He was always fair. He treated our Grandmother like the Queen she was, and he treated our mothers and us girls like princesses. So of course, Grandpa was our noble, devoted knight - our protector. He made sure we knew without a doubt that he was always there for us, and we all looked up to him.

Grandpa was the epitome of a provider. He never failed to make us feel safe and secure and loved. I'm so grateful to have had a guardian like him in life and for all the joyful memories we've shared. Like my cousins and brother have said in their words on this wall of memories, the best memories with Grandpa were truly the small and simple things.

I'll always treasure the sleepover nights when we'd play card games together, or when I was older and we'd drink wine together while he shared stories with me about his incredible life. I'll never forget how he'd scoop up baby bunny rabbits and turtles and all sorts of animals in the yard just to let us pet them. He taught us how to be quiet and gentle so we wouldn't scare them off. When my insomnia would kick in while we lived with Grandpa and Grandma, I would sneak out of my room late at night and watch the History channel with him. At that time of night, the shows were pretty spooky, but I never had to worry about nightmares when I knew my Grandpa, my protector, was in the next room.

We all know that Grandpa would have followed Grandma to the ends of the earth, so I guess it really makes sense that he followed her to the next life. It is comforting to know some things truly never change or end, like the love Grandpa Tommy and Grandma Marie shared in this life and beyond.

What we're going through as a family right now feels totally world changing. There is so much sorrow in losing such important, beloved, special people, who were the head and heart of our family. But something amazing also has come from this sorrow, and that is getting to witness our family -- the family that Grandpa and Grandma built -- coming together, even while being thousands of miles apart, to pour love into one another. The power of that love is limitless because it stemmed from them. And their spirits will always live on in us, as we always continue to build on the unconditional love they shared with us. I feel so privileged to be the granddaughter of Marie and Tommy. My life is blessed in so many ways thanks to them.

Jacquelyn Szarka

Posted at 07:01pm
Thomas and Marie, Conte, are my Godparents. They taught me unconditional love . I didn't get to see them often but when I did I always felt their Love. They will always have a special place in my heart.

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