Food Culinary 06

Richard E. Camillucci Jr.

August 21, 1934 ~ July 28, 2020 (age 85)

Tribute

 

 

And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings

Bear you on the breath of dawn

Make you to shine like the sun

And hold you in the palm of His hand

 

 

Born in the Bronx, NY, grandson of an Italian immigrant chef who worked for some of the best restaurants and hotels in New York City and son of Alba Camillucci, a beautiful spirit and gifted, classically trained opera soprano and Richard Camillucci, Sr., a renowned voice teacher and visionary, Dick developed an early and lifelong love of food, music and life.

 

He lived life to the fullest just shy of 86 years with compassion,

imagination, loyal and generous with a great capacity to love and a sense of humor. His life’s guiding principle was simple and singular: Do the right thing. His was a hand that stayed shook, a word that was bankable, an ethic of integrity and honesty and a willingness to put in the time and effort to realize his commitments.

 

Even as a child he gave it - whatever it was - 100 per cent.  When the family moved out to Freeport on Long Island he gave up stickball in the streets for the high school football field becoming an all-American.  At that same time he first evidenced an entrepreneurial spirit forming Razzle Dazzle Construction with a couple of friends specializing in roofing and siding. After discharge from the Army he was a 20 something record producer starting Cambria Records and promoting popular singers. Although he passed on the hit “I Wonder Why” by Dion and the Belmonts, it wasn’t long before he recognized the music scene future of rock ‘n roll.  When, at his suggestion, a hole in the wall NYC Times Square club recently renamed Peppermint Lounge put in rock ‘n roll acts no one foresaw the serendipitous pandemonium that was to come. That was followed by a move to Florida and the opening of the Miami Beach Peppermint Lounge. Only a few years later fate, aptitude and opportunity resulted in his becoming a serious restaurateur.  First opened as Dinty Moore’s on the 19th floor of the Home Federal Bank building in Hollywood, Florida, it soon evolved into the legendary fine dining roof top restaurant, Top of the Home, for a 25 year run.  Various Cami restaurants followed including but not limited to the Cami Seafood and Pasta chain, Crabby Dick’s in Key West and Grumpy Dick’s in Plantation, Florida. Throughout the years he also kept a hand in the music business promoting the little known to the well known, got into promoting boxers and, at one time Irish touch healer, Finbarr Nolan. In later years he spent some time in Toronto, Canada, consulting for the teamsters. Eventually love took him to the Pacific Northwest at which time he was somewhat retired. However, never without a project, he did co-author the book Peppermint Twist and write A Look Back, My Fifty Years Hosting Entertainers, Celebrities and The Mob.  For all of his success he would also acknowledge some sizable failures. But, would tell anyone listening to seize every opportunity, reach for every dream, keep punching, get up as many times as it takes and hope for a little luck.

 

He will be forever missed and in the hearts of “his Cindy”; his two sons, John and Rich, and their families of four grandchildren and three great grandchildren; an extended family including his sister, Maria, and her family; generations of cousins in the States and Italy; Kenny and friends worldwide. He leaves a legacy of remarkable accomplishment, unforgettable memories and rich storytelling.

 

 At his request he will be cremated and his ashes buried in a family plot at Holy Rood Cemetery, Westbury, NY, with his beloved mother.  Due to current circumstances there will be no memorial service. However, for a man who gave much and asked little there is no better way to acknowledge his life or to honor his memory than to pay it forward: no kindness too small.

 

 

Obituary tribute page can be accessed online with photos at the end of tributes at https://www.threadgillmemorial.com/

 

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