Renato Caruso

Renato Caruso, age 85, of Wading River, passed away on Dec. 31, 2022.

He was the loving husband of Lidia; beloved father of Joseph Caruso, M.D., of Dallas, Texas, and Gabriella Volpe of East Moriches, N.Y.; and treasured grandfather of four. 

Renato was one of six children born to the Caruso family in Palermo, Italy. In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by siblings Sergio, Lilliana and Silvana, older brothers Michael and John having previously passed on. 

Renato immigrated to the United States with his wife, Lidia, in the late ’60s, following his brothers John and Sergio. In addition to starting his family, Renato, with his brothers, opened a pizzeria in Riverhead, N.Y., which exists to this day. While John and Sergio went on to open restaurants of their own, Renato never moved, remaining in the same location for 50 years. And while the brothers have come and gone, Caruso’s Pizzeria continues to prosper under the guidance of his daughter, Gabriella, of whom he would be proud. Renato famously said on more than one occasion, “Women don’t make pizza!” and, to her credit, Gabriella still does not. Caruso’s was and still is very much the family home as much as any house ever was for all the Caruso family. 

Renato knew two things: work and family, both of which he was incredibly committed to. He worked hard, didn’t travel much, lived a modest life and only traveled home to his beloved Palermo a few times over all those years. His stated goal was to provide for his family above all else and he felt that he had accomplished this. Renato’s words were simple, with his most famous piece of advice being “Don’t do something which you may later regret!” which was easy to say but hard to know. His actions, however, spoke volumes and with certainty. Work hard, be committed, make sacrifices, do the jobs others do not want to do and do them the best you can. It was obvious. 

Renato loved auto racing and, of course, Ferrari most of all. He never forgave Formula 1 for moving away from the V10, the sound alone being worth the price of admission, he would say. He did several Montauk triathlons, the Long Island half marathon once or twice, and did a fair bit of club-based cycling in his 40s and 50s. He was fiercely proud of his children, although always subtle in his praise. 

Renato enjoyed evenings of good food and laughs with his family assisted by “martoonis” (because a martini would never do). He particularly loved peppering the family with obscure facts that only he would know, defending them with “The Book,” some encyclopedia he most likely had purchased from some late-night TV ad before there was a thing called the internet. These moments came to be referred to as “the world according to Renato” and hilarity often ensued. 

One last story about Renato. Upon the passing of his mother several years ago one month shy of her 100th birthday, he was asked if he planned to attend the funeral, to which he replied “No. I prefer to remember her how she was.” So rest assured he’ll only be at his viewing because he is being made to be. 

He was as good a father as one could hope for and he will be missed. 

The Caruso family thanks you for all the kind words and well wishes. 

The family will receive visitors Friday, Jan. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 14, from 9 to 11 a.m., at Alexander-Rothwell Funeral Home in Wading River, N.Y. Interment will follow at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram, N.Y.

This is a paid notice.