People remember Joseph Cascio for many things—his outgoing personality, the love he had for his wife and four kids, the motivational talks he would share at the beginning of every meeting of the Carle Place Senior Center. And though he passed away in April, Cascio will not be forgotten; generations to come will get a glimpse into Cascio’s legacy every time they see the purple plum tree planted in his honor at the entrance of Charles J. Fuschillo Park in Carle Place.
On Tuesday, Oct. 28, the Carle Place Senior Center had a tree dedication ceremony to remember Cascio, the center’s second vice president and long time member, who passed away in April at age 87.
A tree is perhaps one of the most fitting ways to remember Cascio, who loved to garden.
“One of the things my dad loved most was puttering around in his garden,” says his daughter Loretta Fields.
He planted a tree in his backyard for each of his kids and the day before he died, he spent the day in his garden. Fields says their backyard was so nice that growing up all the kids in the neighborhood wanted to spend time there.
“My dad and brothers dug out a portion of the yard and built a pond and bridge to go over it. On the other side was a seating area with roses. The backyard was a paradise, it was exquisite,” says Fields. “And in the front yard, you always knew when it was spring because you saw the crocuses, tulips and hyacinths were coming up. It was wonderful.”
Cascio planted spiritual seeds as well, as an active member of Our Lady of Hope in Carle Place. He was a Eucharistic minister and choir member, and taught religious education and brought sacraments to the homebound. His faith carried into his life at the senior center, where he would share a spiritual thought at the beginning of each meeting.
“Everything he said came from his heart. He was a wonderful man,” said senior center president John Heslin. “He loved everyone and everyone loved him. He was always there at the senior center.”
Concetta remembers her husband as being “Mr. Popularity.”
“He was so outgoing and talked to everybody. I still get people who stop me and talk about how friendly he was,” Concetta says.
Cascio was married to Concetta for 55 years and the two adopted three foster children—Rich, Loretta and Steve—before having Joseph Jr.
“He was a wonderful dad. Any man can be a father but it takes a special man to be a daddy. He was my daddy in the best sort of way,” says Fields.