The Marrocco Family has been providing compassionate and thoughtful services for families in the northern New Jersey area for 120 years. In 1891, Pietro (Peter) Marrocco Sr. came to the United States from San Mauro Cilento in Campania, Italy at the age of 17. Eight years later, he moved from New York City to Paterson, New Jersey and established a funeral service business. In those days, funerals were typically held in the homes of the departed and Peter practiced out of his location at 41 Mill Street in Paterson. To gain a perspective on the time frame, he also had a stable for his horses around the corner on 7 Elm Street. After ten years, Peter expanded with three branch locations in Passaic, Lodi and Clifton.
Memorial services became a family business in 1920, when Henry F. Marrocco Sr. became licensed and within a few years he was joined by his brother Peter Marrocco Jr. During Prohibition the entrepreneurial patriarch of the family used his importer’s license to bring barrels of wine into the U.S. Since these were labeled as embalming fluid, he never encountered any issues with customs agents. Following the repeal of the Volstead Act, Peter continued to import wine from Italy, although by then it was in the form of bottles of fine wine.
Peter Marrocco Sr. had a funeral home built next to the original storefront location in 1931 and also integrated an element of the business. In those days, Paterson was known as “Silk City” and Peter manufactured silk linings for caskets. It was also in 1931 that Henry F. Marrocco Sr. went out on his own and established his own funeral parlor in Passaic; soon opening a second location in Clifton. In addition, Henry operated an electrical contracting company next door to the Marrocco Funeral Home in Paterson. A few years later, Henry relocated his funeral home to 70 Howe Avenue in Passaic. It would remain active until 1950, when he moved to the former Benson Estate at 66 Passaic Avenue.
Henry Marrocco Jr. and Peter J. Marrocco took over the operations of the Passaic and Clifton locations in 1958. A year after the passing of Peter Marrocco Sr. in 1963, they expanded one of chapels at the Passaic Avenue home, creating a capacity for 300 people, making it one of the largest memorial chapels in the state. At that time, the funeral home had a total of five chapels.
Peter Marrocco Jr. ran the Paterson funeral home until the late 1960s, when he took in a partner, Louis Liquori. Together they ran the business until the 1970s.
In 1973, Henry Marrocco Jr. and Peter J. Marrocco split the business. Henry took over the Clifton location and Peter took over the Passaic home. The following year, Henry F. Marrocco Sr. passed away. Henry Marrocco III became licensed as a funeral director in 1973 and Jim Marrocco in 1977. In 1983, they took over the operation of the funeral home.
Some of the members of the Marrocco Family were active in the funeral associations. Peter Marrocco Sr. was a founding member of the NJ State Funeral Directors Association and served as its treasurer. Both Henry F. Marrocco Jr. and Jim Marrocco served as President of the Passaic County Funeral Directors Association.
The Marrocco Memorial Chapel was the recipient of the Pursuit of Excellence Award from the National Funeral Directors Association in 1985. It would also receive the award in 1988, 1991, 1997, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
The two brothers purchased the Powell Funeral Home in 1985, located at 257 Broadway in Passaic from Vincent H. Powell, who had worked for Henry F. Marrocco Sr. in the late 1930s. In 1993, James Marrocco became the sole proprietor of the Marrocco Memorial Chapel and the Powell-Marrocco Funeral Home.
After a long search, a new location to merge the two funeral homes was decided upon in 2000, at their current location, 470 Colfax Avenue in Clifton, New Jersey. Unfortunately, it was also the year that Henry F. Marrocco Sr. passed away. The facility was expanded in 2010 and the following year, Jim Marrocco was appointed to the State Board of Mortuary Science by Governor Christie and was elected President in 2014 and 2015.
In 2012, the Aquino Funeral Home was relocated into the Marrocco building on Colfax Avenue. In 2014, Jim Marrocco purchased another funeral business – Cremation Society of New Jersey. In 2017, Marrocco Memorial Chapel took part in a mission of honor program by bringing the unclaimed remains of veterans that were abandoned at the funeral home and had them interred at the State Veteran’s Cemetery.
Carrying on the family legacy, Jim Marrocco has ensured that the preceding three generations of the Marrocco Family are represented in the memorial chapel. Guests will see an oil painting of The Last Supper created by Peter A. Marrocco Sr. in 1951. In the Lincoln viewing room is a painting of San Vito de Cadore, Italy, painted by Henry F. Marrocco, Sr., along with several statues brought back by his father, Henry F. Marrocco Jr. from Florence, Italy, also on display.
As the Marrocco Family enters the next chapter in its long history, they are still providing meaningful and compassionate services when families need it the most.