Organized on behalf of Michelle Parenti through the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park.
A message from Michelle:
Sherwood Island State Park holds over 47 years of wonderful memories for our family. It all started when two love birds who were dating at the time, my parents, Angelo and Jackie D’Onofrio, along with cousins and friends, ventured North on the I-95 in hopes of finding a nice beach along the Connecticut coast away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. They discovered Sherwood Island and fell in love with all it had to offer…. grassy tree lined picnic areas, a long stretch of beach and Angelo’s favorite hobby, fishing. So, every year, starting with Memorial Day weekend, they packed up the car and headed to Sherwood Island park. The tradition carried on after my parents married and started their own family with me followed by my brother, Leonardo and my youngest brother, Paolo. The D’Onofrio clan, along with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends traveled from the Bronx to Sherwood Island almost every Sunday for the entire summer. Some of my most treasured memories from childhood took place at that park. My father took such great pride in preparing his fishing equipment, buying the best bait, and yelling for my mother to hurry up so they could get to the picnic area under their favorite tree at East Beach. My father was always on a mission to get to those fishing rocks at the peak of morning high tide to catch his fish. Sherwood Island was more than just a picnic spot and beach, it was my parents’ sanctuary, their happy place. It was the place where they let all their worries and troubles go out with the tide
In 2017, Angelo was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. He fought his toughest battle for 3 years. Sadly, on May 21, 2020, Angelo D’Onofrio lost this battle. His passing was a devastating loss to our family. It was the week just before Memorial Day. He would have been preparing his fishing equipment, packing up the caravan and once again yelling for my mother to hurry up so that they could escape to their happy place, Sherwood Island.
In honor of Angelo, a beloved husband, father, and grandfather, we have established a fundraiser to plant a tree in memory of him at Sherwood Island State Park. We could not think of a better way to keep Angelo’s spirit alive than to sponsor life and growth through the planting of a tree. Our family has received an outpouring of love from so many family members and friends who were touched by the kind, gentle heart of Angelo. He was a humble man who loved his wife and family to no end. He was satisfied by the comfort of home and simple things of life…family, a small circle of friends, good food, making limoncello, drawing, painting, and fishing.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing rules, many of our extended family members and dear friends were not able to attend Angelo’s wake or funeral services. So, for those who wish to pay tribute to Angelo, we invite you to make a donation in his memory to Friends of Sherwood Island Park, a not for profit organization. Their mission is to preserve, maintain, improve and enhance Sherwood Island State Park for the benefit of the general public and to educate the public about the resources, needs and value of the park. Your donation will fund their 100 Trees for 100 years/Celebration Tree Campaign, allowing us to plant a tree in honor of Angelo. The purpose of the campaign is to replace lost or damaged trees and shrubs throughout the park’s landscape. In addition, the organization is planning to place plaques to complement the Pavilion Tree Mosaic, created by artist Claudia Schattman, and will recognize individual, family or group tree and shrub sponsors. Your donations will help us place a plaque with my father’s name at the art display as well.
Over the years, as the family has expanded, my father made sure to share his love for family gatherings and fishing with my husband, David, his daughter-in-law, Katrina, and his grandson, Massimo as they took part in our yearly trips with fishing lessons included. As we look to the summers ahead, we plan to pack up our cars, head to Sherwood, visit the tree, and find comfort in knowing that our beloved Angelo will be there with us in spirit.
On behalf of the D’Onofrio and Parenti families, I would like to say thank you, in advance, to those who contribute to the Angelo D’Onofrio Memorial Fund. Also, many thanks to our family and friends who have already shown us tremendous generosity, love, and support during this most difficult time. We love you all!