Carl Joseph Torsilieri, 93, Navy veteran, former Far Hills mayor, owned landscaping firm | Bernardsville News Obituaries
Carl Joseph Torsilieri passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, at the age of 93.
Carl was born on February 4, 1928 in Stirling in the house built by his mason father.
“Sonny” was the only child of Joseph A. Torsilieri and Florence L. (Montegari) Torsilieri.
They were married to Lois J. (Mindnich) Torsilieri for 56 years and were high school darlings at Bernards High School in Bernardsville, where Carl was voted the best looking and “Lo” best dressed and best dancer.
Together they had four children: Carla Parkinson (David), Guy (Beverly), Marc (Susan) and Dean (Christine).
There are 13 grandchildren: Jacie and Bart (Carla); George and Carl (Guy); Sam, Liza and Phoebe (Marc); and August, Geneva, Piper, Holly, Willow and Remy (Dean).
Carl was killed by his son Marc in 2007 and by his wife Lois in 2009.
Carl served in the U.S. Navy as a non-commissioned officer on a freedom ship between World War II and the Korean War from 1946 to 1948.
He spent several hours making items like candleholders and lamps from used cartridge cases that are now family heirlooms.
As a young man, Carl grew and sold dahlias from a greenhouse on what is now the Stirling ShopRite. Before starting his own business, he was a partner at Millington Nurseries in Millington.
In 1968, Carl founded Torsilieri, Inc., a landscaping company, from his home on Douglas Road in Far Hills. The company later moved to what is now Torsilieri, Inc.’s current location at 265 Main St. in Gladstone.
All three of his sons, Guy, Marc and Dean, eventually helped him grow the business into a large, multi-faceted company. Torsilieri, Inc. is known for cutting down, harvesting, installing, and dismantling the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, a very specialized job they have been doing for 38 years.
In recent years, the company has also built a reputation for moving and erecting great works of art in New York City and other regions.
Today, Torsilieri, Inc.’s signature white trucks can be seen across New Jersey, New York, and the Tri-State.
Carl drove to the office every day, even after he retired until he was 90. He enjoyed picking up lunch and sharing it with his sons.
After serving on the Board of Education and Borough Council, Carl served four terms from 1995 to 2010 as Mayor of the Borough of Far Hills.
When he ran for office in 1994, his daughter Carla was his campaign manager.
While on the Board of Education, he was instrumental in closing the small elementary school in Far Hills and integrating the students into the Bedminster school system.
He was widely respected for his fairness and clear thinking.
A friend and former mayor of a neighboring town said of Carl: “He embodied the friendly attitude of a responsible elected official.”
Carl lived in Far Hills for 62 years.
Carl and his partner Orlando Di Rienzo (Dee), an avid horse racing enthusiast, owned many victorious thoroughbreds from the 1970s. In the 1990s, Carl’s son Guy joined the partnership.
They drove under the stable name of Coppertree Farm on many racetracks, including Belmont, Saratoga and Keeneland, as well as on obstacle races on the east coast.
Her many impressive victories included a spectacular hometown win at the 2001 Far Hills Race Meeting with Quel Senor in the steeplechase of the Breeder’s Cup first class.
Carl was a devoted baseball fan of the New York Yankees and rarely missed a television game.
In the 1970s, Carl was a dominant member of the Somerset Hills Bowling League. He was also an excellent poker and bocce player, usually half of the tournament’s winning team at the annual Torsilieri Pig Roast.
Carl was known for wearing his signature “Akubra” hats. He was kind to everyone, told great stories, and was a good listener.
Even after his retirement, almost everyone who knew him addressed him as “mayor”.
In his later years, Carl made a valued friend in Christine Petruzzell, who accompanied him to family events and kept Carl busy going to Cape May to eat, play movies, and concerts.
Carl will be missed by many family members and friends who loved him and coworkers who admired and respected him.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held for Carl at a later date.