Gary Dennis Mammucari, a sales representative and talented singer, died May 31. He was 53.
The cause of death is unknown, although Mammucari had struggled with diabetes and other conditions.
Born in South Philadelphia, Mammucari moved to Sicklerville as a young child and lived there until his death.
For the past 22 years, he worked as a sales representative for Pitney Bowes, a manufacturer of shipping products. He also owned his own forklift-safety training company.
In the 1980s, Mammucari worked for a time as a police officer in Gibbsboro, N.J., and later owned his own pizza shop at Moore’s Inlet in Wildwood.
His true passion, however, was in the performing arts.
“He just loved being able to express himself through singing,” said Clifford Hritz, Mammucari’s best friend.
Mammucari, known on stage just as Gary Dennis, shared his musical talents throughout the region, specializing in ’40s hits by singers such as Frank Sinatra and Al Jolson. A member of the South Jersey String Band, Mammucari was a frequent entertainer on the Wildwood boardwalk alongside performers Cozy Morley and Mike Gallo.
“He was really good and made a good buck out of it,” Hritz said. “He did a lot of shows in Atlantic City and throughout the shore areas.”
Members of Mammucari’s former band came to his service last week, which Hritz said was a fitting tribute to the lifelong musician.
Outside the musical world, Hritz said, Mammucari was very devoted to his dogs, Baxter and Jack, in addition to his large family.
“Those were really the things most important to him — his music, his dogs and his family, that’s what mattered,” Hritz said.
Hritz noted that Mammucari’s diabetes took a toll on him, and several years ago he had to have part of his leg amputated and was fitted with a prosthetic.
Despite his medical challenges, Hritz said, his friend never lost touch with his showmanship.
“He was always telling a joke, always making you laugh. And he was always laughing,” he said. “In between his songs at his shows, he would do comedy. He always had a smile on his face.”
Hritz spent Memorial Day with Mammucari in Atlantic City and said his friend was in good spirits on one of his last days.
“It was very sudden,” he said. “During the day, he was great. The whole ride home we spent singing the songs he had on. We had a really good time.”
Mammucari was preceded in death by his parents, Othello and Connie, and is survived by sisters Pat and her husband Peter Temean and Carol and husband Steven Magowan, along with his godchildren Wendy Sheetz and Joey Redden, his many friends and his pets.
He was buried June 4.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Animal Orphanage, 419 Cooper Road, Voorhees, NJ 08043.
Jen Colletta can be reached at [email protected].