January 26, 2022
Gerald Vincent Mazza Jr. (Jerry) passed away on January 26, 2022, from complications of Alzheimer's. He died at his home in New York City. Gerald, the only child of Gerald Vincent Mazza Sr. and Anna (Milano) Mazza was born on September 17, 1938, in St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City, during the Great New England Hurricane of 1938.
Jerry's family lived on Carmine Street in Greenwich Village until moving to Williamsburg Brooklyn where he began elementary school. He attended public schools in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn College with an MA in English Literature. His master's thesis was a book of original poetry that won a stipend to the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa. Jerry was also awarded a fellowship at the University of Oregon for a Ph. D. in English Literature. He deferred both to work in New York as a writer.
Jerry married Martha Frankel in 1963. They had two children; Stephanie Ann Mazza married to Jonathan Chimene, mother of Joseph Mazza-Chimene residing in Brooklyn, NY, and Peter Mazza, married to Alexandra Joan, father of Eliana and Elisa Mazza Joan residing in New York City.
On December 20, 1975, Jerry married Anne (Blevins) Mazza. Their son, Michael Gennaro Mazza, wife Danielle Mazza, and children Michael and Brianna reside in Oak Harbor, WA. Jerry and Anne remained married 47 years until his death.
Jerry was a VP, Creative Director at Grey Advertising writing advertising campaigns for Fruit of the Loom, Jif, Polident, Puffs Tissues, Duncan Hines, Puritan Oil, Soft Swirl Frozen Desert, Jeno's Pizza Rolls, and dozens more. He brought back the 'fruit" to Fruit of the Loom ads and gave a national presence to Polident using famous actor spokesperson, Martha Raye belting the famous line, "Take it from the Big Mouth." He also created the tag line for Jif peanut butter, "Choosy Moms Choose Jif."
Jerry was an accomplished accordion player and played gigs with bands in summer resorts as a teenager. He eventually gave up the accordion for the piano, studying with Roland Hanna. He loved jazz and played the jazz standards. Often he infused advertising campaigns with music. One example is the song, You've Got the Magic Touch by the Platters that became the song for Puff Tissues, adapted to, You've Got the Velvet Touch.
Jerry was a prolific writer all of his life in multiple areas. He wrote poems almost daily and many were published in poetry journals. His book of poems, State of Shock, was a collection of poems about 9/11. He also loved plays and wrote over a dozen. His play, My Father's House, was produced in 1997 at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, CT, starring James Farentino and Len Lesser. A one-act play, Arty, won a Bronze Medal at the Houston Film Festival in 1982. In 2003 he became a contributing writer and associate editor for Onlinejournal.com, publishing over 400 articles on politics, the economy, government, health, and other contemporary issues.
Like his stormy entry into this world during the Great New England Hurricane, he departed bringing in the nor'easter of 2022. His life will be celebrated on January 31, 2022. He will be buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Garden, Queens. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking to make donations to Alzheimer's research.
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