Emilio Rosario

December 13, 1933November 19, 2020

On Thursday, November 19, 2020, Emilio Rosario, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away at the age of 86.

Emilio was born on December 13, 1933 in Humacao, Puerto Rico to Angela Cruz and Tolentino Rosario. Despite growing up in impoverished conditions and knowing no English, Emilio made his way to New York City at the age of 16 and lived in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem). With self determination and hard work, he became a successful entrepreneur, eventually moving to The Bronx and owning several small businesses throughout the years including multiple candy stores, a corner Bodega (Shanna's Grocery Store), and a gypsy cab business (Redi Car). He worked hard and financed the migration of multiple family members to New York in the hope of a better life with an opportunity for the American Dream.

Emilio's first marriage blessed him with a son, James, and two daughters, Peggy and Angela. In 1973, Emilio married Vilma Rosario and raised her three children, Vilma, Eric, and Linda, as his own. Together, Emilio and Vilma had a daughter named Shanna.

Emilio was part of the Puerto Rican diaspora and navigated his way through young adulthood in the tough streets of New York City. He faced the challenges of poverty, a language barrier, classism, and racism which forged his unapologetic strong character. He commanded respect and was known to stand on his word, a vital part of credibility and survival in his community. Emilio was a complex man having established his public persona as "Chino" and "Peseta." But there was also a side to him that was so tender and warm, which he reserved for his family. He was an amazing provider, a wealth of knowledge/know-how, a protector, and a kind soul. He instilled "ganas" in his children to get out there and "go for it!"

Emilio was a member of the charismatic movement at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in the Bronx, where he frequently led the congregation in prayer and joined the music ministry. It was then, that he was inspired to learn to play the congas. When he retired to Florida, Emilio became active in prison ministry. He participated in Mass weekly with inmates and joined Kairos, bringing The Word to male prisoners seeking Christ. This allowed Emilio to use his rich experience on the streets of NYC to be God's instrument and to reach those who thought that they were beyond redemption.

Emilio was known for his physical prowess and strength. He took up running in his fifties, started pumping iron at the gym in his sixties, and in his seventies, Emilio became known locally as the "Muscle Man" of Spring Hill, bench pressing upwards of 150 pounds. He was also an avid fan of thoroughbred horse racing and looked forward to the Triple Crown every year.

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment that Emilio embraced was that of the family Patriarch. There were no limits to what he would do for his wife and family. He seized every opportunity to attend celebrations and milestones for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Emilio valued education, physical strength, forward progress, determination, respect, and honor. He raised his children with all the love in his heart, stepped in when he was needed, and let them "fly" to find their own way in the world. He leaves an incredible legacy that will be gleaned through the achievements of his future generations.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6



  • Visitation

    Monday, November 23, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Monday, November 23, 2020


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