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325 West 14th Street
New York City, NY 10014
Phone: 212-242-1456
Fax: 212-242-9834
Richard Apicella

Richard Joseph Apicella

Friday, October 22nd, 1943 - Sunday, January 3rd, 2021
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Richard Joseph Apicella, a New Yorker’s idea of a New Yorker, a business owner and amateur chef extraordinaire who became “Uncle Richie” to people who met him only once, died Jan. 3, 2021. He was 77.
Richie was, at his core, a product and ambassador of the city he called home his entire life. Born in Queens as the youngest of Harry and Rose Apicella’s eight children, he attended St. Francis Preparatory School and then Queens College before joining the U.S. Navy. He served aboard the U.S.S. Forrestal from 1962 to 1964.
Richie spent his working life in the textile industry, joining his brother Anthony after leaving the navy. He eventually helped found Safco Fabrics, the company he ran until his retirement. As the domestic textile industry began to shrink, Richie, the self-proclaimed “last of the garmentos,” owned one of the last U.S. companies to survive, buoyed by a reputation for integrity and loyalty.
He married the former Kerry Quinn in 1976 and was father to Katherine Quinn and Elizabeth Quinn Apicella, who were not only his proud daughters, but among his closest friends.
Perhaps his greatest recurring role was as host and chef, preparing his famed Sunday Night Pasta dinners for the largest crowds he could assemble. During his annual practice of giving up pasta for lent, hundreds suffered.
The excellence of those dinners was not limited to his rigatoni or his red sauce, it was the color and warmth of his personality. His eggplant parmesan, like his accent, was often imitated, but the exact flavor of both was impossible to replicate. He could engage anyone he met with conversations about history, music, or his tortured love of the Giants and Mets. He could disagree with someone and tell them “go scratch yourself” or “go knock your brains out” in a way that left one still enamored of him. And he was, above all, a spectacular dresser.
Richie constantly urged companions to “taste this” or “listen to this,” always eager to share his appetites for life. He was an opera fan who reveled in a night at the Met or listening to Tosca while speeding on the FDR with the windows of his car down.
He was an avid sportsman who golfed and skiied, but his best sport was that most quintessentially New York avocation, handball. Richie was a seniors champion at the New York Athletic Club, where he was a stalwart member for decades and president of the “Killers Club” of four-wall handball players. In his later years, Richie was a popular docent at the U.S.S Intrepid, perhaps as much an institution as the ship itself.
Richard is survived by his wife and daughters, all of Manhattan; his sister Joan Apicella Dullmeyer, of Florida; brother Arthur Apicella, of New York; and Dan Turner, of New York.
The Apicella family has requested that donations in his name be made to the lung transplant program at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he received a transplant in 2016. Checks should be made payable to NewYork-Presbyterian Fund Inc. and sent to:
NYP Development Office
850 3rd Ave, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10022
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Private Condolence

Patti & Lou Romanzi

Posted at 05:16pm
Richie was such a caring and fun man he will be missed tremendously send prayers and love to all the family
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daniel ahlfeld

Posted at 02:44pm
As I compose this, I am looking at Richie's obituary picture. I'm having a very difficult time in keeping my eyes dry. How do you say goodbye to your best friend, when every part of you justs wants to say "hello". I have known Rich for ninety percent of my life. There are so many stories that can be told but sadly not enough space to recount even a small portion of them... but there is one story that help describe Rich's passion for cooking. Some years ago, after the U.S.'s "Hey Day in the garment industry", I called Rich one morning on his cell, (Richie still maintained an office in the Garment District"), to see how he was doing. He answered his cell and told me he couldn't talk too loud as he was on a bus going into his office. I asked how business was and he stated in a Jewish accent "it could be better" as most of the garment business had moved overseas. I asked what he did all day and he replied that he "waits for the phone to ring, just in case a customer calls" and while he's waiting... he thinks about what he's going to make for dinner... sometimes he says "the recipe is so good, I have to take a cab home!
Everyone who knew Richie, knew that, when they saw him approaching them, that their day was about to get a lot better. He was a Three time NYAC 4 wall handball champion in three different age groups.
He was a fierce competitor, a devoted father and husband, and loyal friend. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life and the memories of him will go with me wherever I go. I am so grateful that he was in my life and I in his!
Post Script... Anyone who wants to hear the rest of these stories, call me, we'll have a drink!

Tom Fisher

Posted at 01:09pm
I met Rich on the USS Intrepid as a fellow volunteer. What I remember most is that he made me feel a part of the organization when I was just starting. I didn't know anyone and felt like somewhat of an outsider, but Rich always greeted me like an old friend and was interested in what I had to say. I could always tell that he was a good man. I'll miss him. I've sent a donation in his memory to NYP.

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