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Obituary: Emil J. Difede

Emil “Jerry” Difede 

Emil “Jerry” Difede of Port Washington passed away on April 23, 2009 at the age of 85. The cause was cancer.

Jerry was born in Astoria, NY of two Italian immigrants, James and Gemma Difede. Raised in the apartment above his father’s barber shop and dry goods store, he began a life of achievement beyond what he could have foreseen.

Jerry served in World War II, earning three Bronze Stars for service at Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of the Romagen Bridge. When not caring for wounded soldiers as a medic, he would entertain troops with his jazz trio. Music remained a big part of his life and his Sinatra-esque voice could be heard in many a local piano bar.

After the War, Jerry began a corporate career that led him to serve in several senior corporate positions, most notably at Black & Decker, where he directed the introduction of one of the most popular consumer products of the time, the “Dustbuster” vacuum. Taking early retirement in 1982, he spent the remaining years of his life singing, clamming and publishing his real estate magazine Portfolio of Homes, which allowed him to surround himself with one of his favorite things – the many wonderful women in the real estate industry.

Jerry Difede is survived by his beloved and devoted Anne Bowie Vavrinec, his three children, Joan, Jim and Jennifer, their mother Doris Difede and his sisters Rose and Gloria. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, May 17, between 2 and 4 p.m. at Fairchilds Funeral Home in Manhasset.