Alerio A. Cardinale, son of Sicilian immigrants, real estate investor, attorney, veteran and beloved patriarch of a large family, died peacefully in Palm Beach, Fla., on Sept. 2, 2020, at age 102. His wife, Flory Davidoff Cardinale, was at his side when he suffered a cardiac arrest after a busy morning conferring with his investment brokers.
Born Jan. 26, 1918, Alerio grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn. His business career began during the Depression at age 12, when he got an after-school job with a real estate office showing properties to prospective tenants. By age 16, he had saved enough to make his first investment, purchasing a house in his aunt’s name for just $50 and quickly finding a tenant. Alerio worked every day until the day he died. He started his first full-time job in real estate Aug. 19, 1934, and celebrated his “Working Anniversary” every year for the next 86 years.
Over the next two decades, Alerio worked alongside his father, managed a growing portfolio of Brooklyn properties, completed St. John’s College and Law School at night, served in the Army during World War II, opened a Brooklyn real estate office and started a family with his first wife, Louise. In 1946 Alerio and his parents and family started spending summers at their second home on Peconic Bay in Laurel.
Alerio’s life was ripped apart April 14, 1956, when his father and first-born son (both named Joseph) were killed when a train struck their car at the railroad crossing in Laurel. After this, Alerio and Louise focused on keeping their family together. “Looking back,” Alerio wrote in his 2017 autobiography, “it seems that after the sorrows of 1956, we all became much closer as a family. I’m very thankful for this, and I hope it continues after I’m no longer here.”
Louise died suddenly on April 14, 1975. Alerio moved full-time to Laurel and opened an office in Jamesport in 1980. He married Flory in 1986 and the couple began spending a part of each year in Palm Beach.
After retiring from real estate, Alerio invested in municipal bonds and stock options and watched the financial markets closely. Throughout the years, he dispensed wise advice to his family and friends and gradually composed his autobiography, which was published for the occasion of his 100th birthday celebration.
Alerio leaves four children, sons Alan and Philip Cardinale and daughters Adelinda Catalano and Louise Busch; 14 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family will receive visitors from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, at Coster-Heppner Funeral Home in Cutchogue. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at Our Lady of Good Counsel R.C. Church in Mattituck. Burial will follow at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.
Memorial donations may be made to Mercy Ships, P.O. Box 1930, Lindale, TX 75771.
This is a paid notice.