Sudden Passing of Mario’s Italian Market Owner Mourned

By Maria Scandale | Nov 12, 2019
Supplied Photo

Surf City — The mood was somber at Mario’s Italian Market in Surf City this weekend as staff and shocked customers mourned the loss of owner Mario J. Aversa Jr., who died Nov. 7 at age 46.

His passing leaves behind two young daughters, Annaliese, and Elena, and their mother, Dawn. Aversa himself had encountered tragedy and health challenges in the family, including the passing of his parents, Mario and Phyllis Aversa, and a brother, Peter, who died at age 34, all of whom had been part of the family’s food business. 

Aversa had a massive heart attack that coincided with complications from recently diagnosed diabetes that had gone undiagnosed for some time, a family member said.

A GoFundMe page was set up by Brooke Mesanko for a dear friend “gone too soon.” The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the GoFundMe fundraiser, Gone Too Soon.

“This man was truly one of a kind. He was one of the special type of people that would drop what he was doing and lend a  helping hand if a friend was in need,” Mesanko said. “Mario was also an enormous part of the LBI community. His customers were his friends and family.”

Dawn Aversa, in an initial statement on Facebook, thanked the community for their support that began coming forth immediately.

“The last several days have been ... so much,” she wrote, in part. “All of the kind words of support and love for my daughters has been so appreciated. Life has just drastically changed for them. No one could ever replace their father. But they will need a village.

“Thank you all for being that village.”

The market is closed until further notice. Its future is unknown. The shop was open over the weekend after Aversa’s passing.

Aversa, of Beach Haven West and previously Seaside Park, was born in New York City. He advertised the business as “the very best Italian deli, baked goods and catering this side of Brooklyn.” The market had been in business for 23 years, and had recently expanded to give more room for the baked goods section.

Aversa earned his culinary degree from the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College, his Facebook page said.

The GoFund Me page had grown to $6,375 in donations by its second morning online, with a stated goal of $60,000.

“Without her asking I want to try to do whatever I can do to help Dawn and the girls, whether it be funeral costs, utilities, groceries, mortgage payments, the upcoming holidays, etc.  Any little bit helps,” Mesanko wrote in the page’s narrative.

Friends on social media expressed a true loss.

“A man that was always there to lend a hand and only truly angered by the Giants record,” wrote one man. “You were a Giant, my friend. A true friend to the end.”

— Maria Scandale



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