×

D'Elia Funeral Home

Route 70 & Vermont Avenue, Lakewood, NJ

OBITUARY

John Joseph Calimano

November 29, 1944June 17, 2019
Play Tribute Movie

John Calimano, 74, of Jackson, New Jersey passed away on June 17, 2019 after a long and courageous battle with cancer that began in 1996. “Cal”, as his friends and family knew him, was born on November 29, 1944 in Jersey City and was adopted by his beloved mother, Maria Nicole “Marge” Mastromonica, and his father Gus Calimano, who raised their son in Bayonne. He was also especially close to his beloved aunt, Mary Mastromonica.

Cal was a member of the Rutgers University Class of 1996, and is a member of the Old Guard. He was an avid supporter of the institution, and a season ticket holder to the football games. He took great joy in attending the games with family and friends, cheering on his team.

Cal began the career that would change the lives of so many, when he took a teaching position at Churchill Junior High School in East Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1966. A year later he enlisted in the United States Navy and served for four years rising to the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. He spent time in Vietnam before serving in Spain.

Returning to the East Brunswick school, Cal remained at Churchill for several years before transferring to the high school. His love of history and of teaching transformed his classroom into an exciting learning community. Cal is best known for teaching the Institute for Political and Legal Education or I.P.L.E., a course in which students develop skills in public speaking, debate, research and collaboration. Cal led his students to win many top awards in programs such as Model UN, Model Congress, Mock Trial, The Bicentennial of the Constitution and We the People Competitions. He was a mentor, role model and friend to hundreds of students throughout his career and continued to do so, even after his retirement from teaching in January 2000. On May 4, 2019, the East Brunswick Board of Education, at the request of his students, dedicated the I.P.L.E. room in his honor. John Calimano will live on in the hearts and minds of all those students he as touched in his lifetime.

John Calimano is survived by Dan Pekarchik, his spouse; their marriage on August 15, 2016 was only one of the milestones in their 44 years together. He is also survived by his cousin Joan Duchemin and her husband, Eddie; and cousin Carol Couch, along with both their families.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to any St. Anthony’s Parish for St. Anthony Bread to Feed the Poor, or make a donation to your local food pantry or soup kitchen, also consider participation in one hour of community service.

A memorial visitation will be held from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at the D'Elia Funeral Home, 1300 Vermont Avenue, Lakewood, N.J. The Navy will conduct military honors at 6:00 p.m. during the visitation. A memorial mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 24, 2019 at St. Mary of the Lake R.C. Church, 43 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, N.J.

  • FAMILY

  • Dan Pekarchik, Husband
  • Joan Duchemin and her husband Eddie, Cousin
  • Carol Couch, Cousin

Services

  • Memorial Visitation Sunday, June 23, 2019
  • Memorial Mass Monday, June 24, 2019

Memories

John Joseph Calimano

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Suzanne Chludzinski

June 28, 2019

I was so sad to hear the news of Cal's passing. He was one of the best teachers at EBHS. He was so kind, caring, and always had a smile for everyone. He taught us so much and will be missed by so many students, family, and friends.

Miss you and love you Cal. Rest in Peace.

Marion Dawson

June 21, 2019

I met John in 1985 and always knew him as "Cousin Johnny". I immediately liked him. He always had a twinkle in his eyes and a big smile on his face. He greeted all his family and friends with a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. Cousin Johnny was such a warm, caring person and he will be greatly missed. I had no idea how much he was admired and loved by his students. I can see that he was a wonderful educator and changed the lives of many. RIP John.....my love and condolences to Dan, Joan, Carole and your families.

Scott Etline

June 18, 2019

Rest In Peace Cal.
You made a difference in the lives of so many . Thank you for teaching me about our political system and installing the love a good debate in me.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. W.A. Ward

Cal you were great

Brian Quaranta

June 18, 2019

I am so sad to hear of Mr. Cal's passing. He had such a huge influence on me and so many others. It is no exaggeration to say that I am a different person, better, because of him. The man loved to teach, loved to encourage, to get the best out of every student. His enthusiasm was infectious. Really the ideal of a teacher, the kind they make movies about. I am very grateful to have had the chance to learn from him. What a blessing. He will be deeply missed.

Kyu Kang

June 18, 2019

I remember Cal with such deep gratitude. He was a compassionate, thoughtful educator. I have such a clear memory of my first time ever speaking in his class. He knew I was nervous; and he was 100% positive, supportive, and encouraging. Afterwards, as I stepped down from the front of the room, he came to me, patted my shoulder and said with such genuine care, "You did great! No reason to be nervous." And gave me a wink. It filled me with such confidence and pride. I credit Cal for teaching me how to speak , to eliminate "ums" and "ahs" and "likes" from my speech, and for instilling in me the first understanding of civic duty. Thank you Cal, and you are missed.

Staci Light Recanati

June 18, 2019

Cal,
You were the best educator I ever had! Thank you for teaching us how to think—not just memorize. Thank you for inspiring students to be well informed, thoughtful and active citizens in a democratic society. It’s been more than 30 years but I still remember your great smile and sparkling eyes. Rest In Peace 🙏🏻

Lauren Pachman

June 18, 2019

A year ago, I used the following words to describe Cal in a post on Facebook. His reaction was the little "WOW" emoticon, which was so typical of him, to not even realize the extent to which he still empowered me, decades later:

"John Calimano taught all of us ... about ourselves - how much more we were capable of than we realized. At times when my self-esteem was otherwise questionable, IPLE made me feel smart and capable, and not because he was easy on us but because he was demanding of us. When I got the highest marks from Cal, it meant something. He’d been paying attention, and he saw something in me that I couldn’t yet see in myself. It’s the most important gift a teacher can impart on a student. We were all so very lucky."

As I sit at my desk watching a Senate Banking hearing, I wonder whether I'd be here at this desk without Cal. I don't know if I'd have majored in political science without Cal, or challenged my own opinions on things without Cal, or gone to law school without Cal.

I pushed myself in his class because he made me feel like I could do anything. I pushed myself afterward because he taught me that I could stand before a large audience and command a room. Today, I sometimes do that as part of my job. Thanks, Cal.

May his memory be a blessing.

John Iacono

June 18, 2019

Cal was and always will be with me. He touched so many so deeply that his legacy will live on in the hearts of the many who went from students to friends.

I will miss you Cal!

Theresa English-Garvey

June 18, 2019

God rest and bless Mr. “C”....One of my best and favorite teachers. He had a way of engaging students that made learning an adventure that we WANTED to take to the next level! I wish I encountered more educators of his caliber today. He was truly a rare gem💗

Howard Klein

June 18, 2019

WAS MY HOME ROOM TEACHER AT CHURCHILL JR HIGH IN EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ. I LIKED HIM. VERY NICE. MY MEMORY WAS FROM 1978-1981. HE THEN WENT TO THE HIGH SCHOOL. HE WILL BE MISSED BY HIS FORMER STUDENTS.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Dan, Wally, John & Candy dining at The Borgata!

FROM THE FAMILY

Cal receiving an award from the E.B. Education Foundation in ~1997. Pictured with former IPLE students Kyle Volk, Raj Chand, Mike Barnett, and Brian Fischer (l to r).

FROM THE FAMILY

Cal and IPLE student Kyle Volk in Fall 1993. Cal was judging the annual hallway decoration contest during school spirit week.

FROM THE FAMILY

Cal at the celebration and classroom dedication in May, 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Cal at the celebration and classroom dedication in May, 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Cal at the celebration and classroom dedication in May, 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Cal at the celebration and classroom dedication in May, 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Cal at the celebration and classroom dedication in May, 2019

FROM THE FAMILY

Marni Smilow Levitt (EBHS 1984) and Cal at the celebration and classroom dedication in May, 2019