Mike Cassese

November 25, 1959December 27, 2012
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MIKE CASSESE It is with great sadness that the family of Mike Cassese announces his sudden passing on the morning of December 27, 2012 in his Toronto home at the age of 53. Mike was the beloved father of Daniel and David. He leaves behind his sister Mary Iafrate, her husband Domenic, niece Vienna and nephews Carmen and Michael. As Mary said, "My heart is broken. He was my rock, my best friend." Mike was close to his large and loving family: his uncle Rocco, aunts Maria, Grazia and Guiseppina and cousins Mary and Felicia, Erminia, Saveria, Luisa, Santo, Carol, Paul, Saverio and Gino and all their children. He is predeceased by his devoted mother Antonia and father Joseph. Mike was a renowned photojournalist for Reuters wire service and prior to that, the Toronto Sun. He was known for his quiet demeanor, although his friends in the business knew that behind the calm was a sharp professional who moved with such speed he captured the rarest of moments, especially in sports photojournalism. It was Mike who took the photograph during the 1992 World Series that showed the Toronto Blue Jay's Kelly Gruber tagging out Deion Sanders in his attempt to complete a triple play. The umpire didn't see it and awarded second base to the Atlanta player, but the proof was in Mike's photograph. Mike won a National Newspaper Award for that picture and a second NNA for his 2009 photograph of Minnesota Twins batter Justin Morneau, taken the split second a ball fouled off his cheek during a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He accomplished all of this with understated grace. Mike's professionalism earned him a front row seat at major league sports events, along with entertainment and political news. He introduced his sons to photography and they joined him at events like the Grey Cup, Much Music Video Awards and the Queen's Plate, happy to be part of the photographers' camaraderie. He had an exceptional career and excellent friends, especially Fred Thornhill, whose New Year's Eve storytelling around the bonfire always included the Cassese boys. Most of all, Mike loved his sons and they loved him. Visitation on Saturday from 6-9 p.m. and Sunday from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. at the Jerrett Funeral Home, 1141 St. Clair Ave. West, near Dufferin. The Funeral Mass will be held on Monday at 10 a.m. at the St. Clare Catholic Church


  • Visitation Saturday, December 29, 2012
  • Visitation Sunday, December 30, 2012
  • Visitation Sunday, December 30, 2012
  • Funeral Mass Monday, December 31, 2012

Mike Cassese

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Sue Hertz

January 12, 2013

A dear sweet friend. So many memories of starting out. Will be missed.

January 2, 2013

No other words need be expressed as those that have already been written ... I am so shocked and saddened to hear of Mike's passing.
You were and will always be a big part of the Toronto photojournalism community Mike ... you made such a difference.
My sincere sympathies to your family and large circle of friends for their loss.
Patti Gower

Barb MacDonald

January 2, 2013

Mike was a great photogapher and a true professional, but he was an even greater person. It was always a pleasure to have him calmly help find the best photo positions at our skating events. He will be sincerely missed.

Frank Gunn

January 2, 2013

Mikey. You were so happy. The future was looking so bright. Why now?

The Love we all have for you will watch over your boys. You will never be forgotten.

Louie Palu

January 2, 2013

The most generous guy I ever met. I'll miss you Mike.

Sara, Nick, and Anna Pacione

January 1, 2013

My parents were so looking forward to welcoming you into our home and calling you family. My parents heard about Uncle Mike and what a big part you played in Carmen's family, and it was only a matter of time before they would meet you- time that we never ended up having.

I got to call you Uncle Mike officially for a day, but you had been Uncle Mike to me since the day I heard about you from Carmen, just like your mom very quickly became Nonna. I won't ever forget your big hug Christmas Eve night, the way you tried and succeeded to get me to drink more wine than usual, that you toasted mine and Carmen's engagement, and every single thing in-between. We wanted to ask you to shoot our engagement pictures- I had not seen your award-winning photographs until now, but we knew that the man behind the camera was special and we wanted you to be as much a part of our lives as possible.

I will miss seeing you at each baseball game I see with Carmen- the highlight of every game was seeing you after the game. There will be so much I will miss, and I'm sorry I never got to tell you how special it all was to me.

I had known you for a much shorter time than your family and friends, but if I loved you, I can only imagine the love that everyone around you felt for you and magnitude of the hole now left in their hearts. My condolences to Uncle Mike's friends and family, especially Daniel and David (you boys are part of my family now too), Mary, Dominic, Vienna, Michael, and Carmen- I'm always here for all of you, I love you xoxoxo

Marie Moretti-Robinson

January 1, 2013

Dear Mary,
Eventhough over 25 years have passed since we worked together at Shoppers, Rexdale Plaza, I still vividly remember how proudly and lovingly you spoke about your brother Mike. I was very sad to read that he passed away. I offer you and your family my sincere condolences and pray that your memories will carry you through this difficult time. I know he'll always be near you.

Craig Robertson

December 31, 2012

The Toronto photo community has lost one of our very best and he can not be replaced. So many of us have been touched by Mike's kindness and grace. I will miss asking him about his boys and my heart breaks for them. Thank you Mike for all the times you helped me out (and there were many) . I am so grateful I played one round of golf last summer, my first in years, and Mike was part of that foursome. I got a new driver for Christmas in hopes that I could hit the ball as far as Mike. A true friend who we will all miss. Rest in peace Mike.

Hugh Wesley

December 31, 2012

It has been said so many times already, Mike Cassese: a quiet, humble, talented, gentle man, with big picture wisdom, a helping hand, and a giving heart. What a life road map to leave for Daniel and David to follow...and his family, friends and colleagues too.
Mike was a good man. RIP Mike

Ron Bull

December 31, 2012

Jays spring training,Mike Sun myself Star. End of day I'm having computer difficulties, Mike gladly solves my problems so his competition will not have a blank space in the sports section .When ever I met a group of photogs on the job always made a point of saying hullo to Mike first for good reason .