Amedeo John Morelli,97, passed from our presence to heaven on April 20, 2020. “Mickey”, as he was always known to his family, friends and many fans, was born on January 22, 1923 to Giovanni and Beatrice Morelli, diasporan emigrants from Minturno, Italy, and raised in a large, musical family in Bloomfield, NJ. His opera singer, trumpeter, salon-owner/stylist, tailor father taught singing lessons in their home and was a soloist at St. Stephens in Kearny, Newark’s Sacred Heart Cathedral and Carnegie Hall in NYC, as was his brother Candido. A graduate of Bloomfield HS, Amedeo played cornet in the band, acted onstage, and ran track. Drafted in WW II, as were brothers Maurice and Emil, he did his basic training in Atlantic City and after processing at Fort Dix was enrolled in the Air Force and sent to Mitchell Field where he served in Antisubmarine Command. Upon President Franklin Roosevelt’s development of The Army Specialized Training Program, he was reassigned, selected for the intensive college training corps at Syracuse University where he studied an accelerated academic program with an emphasis in engineering. Soldiers in this pilot program were on active duty, in uniform at all times under military discipline, living and training in the fields around the campus. When casualties of infantrymen on the front created critical shortages, demand for replacements of Army Ground Service Forces required all students to be released to active duty combat. Amedeo was transferred to Sabu, Japan as Intelligence Sergeant for the Headquarters Company 77th Infantry Division Artillery Battalion. A tenor with a beautiful voice and a natural performer, he was often asked to sing. While serving the first of two tours, his commanding officer requisitioned instruments for him to start a band. The ”Four Flats and A Sharpie” played at Red Cross Clubs and dances for off duty troops and put together shipboard variety and comedy shows to boost crew morale en route to combat and was performing for doctors and nurses at a military hospital on Leyte when the Allied victory was declared.
Attending Newark College of Engineering (now NJIT) at night, while working at RCA, Amedeo hosted a radio show and founded The Mello Chords Glee Club for which he wrote original scores and arrangements for both singers and musicians. The Mello Chords played in halls and restaurants in Essex County and many NJ musical venues, receiving acclaim and winning talent shows. Beautiful mementos and pictures from performances of the glee club exist because his cherished sister Mary, who sang in the group, was also secretary and kept meticulous records, clippings and photos, so precious now. Amedeo also sang in choir at Our Lady Help of Christians in East Orange, NJ, where he met Mary Louise Price. In 1957, they were married and settled in Randolph, N.J. He designed and with his brothers, built his own home. An engineer professionally, he was employed in electronics design and development for many years at Mepco Electra in Morristown before moving to RCA in Princeton in 1977 and then to GE Marconi in Totowa 10 years later. He was the owner of several US utility patents in the field of electronics.
In addition to family, music has always been a central passion of his life, there was nothing he couldn’t play and his home was always filled with music. Singing in choir at St Lawrence the Martyr Church, Chester, NJ every Sunday and playing in numerous bands, he maintained enduring friendships with fellow singers, musicians and actors everywhere, an especially close tie with fellow band leader/mentor Fred Waring became a relationship with The Pennsylvanians. He played with the County College of Morris adult jazz band and sang with several talented chorales formed for specific holiday performances. He also performed in local musical theatre his entire life, at Music Mountain in Sparta, The Barn Theatre in Montville, and the County College of Morris Light Opera Co, until moving to Orlando, Florida in 2003. In his new state he performed with the traveling RSVP band, retired musicians with whom he loved playing and singing for elderly in senior centers, into his own nineties. A seeming quiet, older gentleman until he stood up for his solo, he was always in demand, a beloved, funny, wise presence, and he loved it all, performing enriched his life. Multi-dimensional, he was a thinker and he lived a code of ethical personal responsibility coupled with humility and integrity which truly represented The Greatest Generation, but for whom America would not be recognizable.
Amedeo’s beautiful, supportive wife and family were often in the audience, proud to share him as he shared his magnificent artist’s soul in song. Predeceased by his wife Mary Lou, he leaves his daughter Karen Duncan, Frelinghuysen, NJ, son Kevin Morelli, Orlando, Fla, son Alan Morelli, Pacific Palisades, California and daughter Carolyn Hanington, Long Valley, NJ, and nine grandchildren. “Uncle Mickey” also leaves many adoring nieces and nephews, and cousins. His life was a gift to us, no Dad was ever more esteemed. Although our hearts are broken we are forever grateful for him and for his peaceful passing at home. We know he is at home now with his huge family in the presence of our Lord.
Due to current circumstances a memorial service is delayed and will be held in Chester, NJ as the situation permits.
Memorial tribute donations will be made to The American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA): Centers for Advanced Research.