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Christopher Jay

August 26, 1948 – January 13, 2017

Christopher Cavallaro
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"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— O'Brien Funeral Home

Obituary for Christopher Jay Cavallaro

Christopher J. Cavallaro, 68, of Wall, NJ, died January 13 at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, NJ, from complications of pancreatic cancer. His wife of nearly 45 years, Peggy (Mulligan) Cavallaro, was by his side.

Born in Newark, Chris spent a typical 1950s childhood with family and a wide network of friends in Edison, NJ. He graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, NJ, and attended Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, before dropping out in the fall of 1968 to pursue his musical aspirations. The next year, Chris and Peggy met at the Atlantic City Pop Festival, featuring many of the acts that were slated to appear two weeks later at Woodstock; though Chris was one of the few who actually paid for tickets to Woodstock, his van broke down on the way and he never made it to the festival.

Chris held a number of day jobs while first playing in Jersey Shore bar bands, then focusing on doing sound for other bands. In 1976, he opened Tower Studios, a recording studio at Allaire Airport in Wall, where numerous local bands rehearsed and recorded demos with Chris as their audio engineer. A highlight of those years was the night Bruce Springsteen stopped by to rehearse with Cats on a Smooth Surface.

Following the closure of Tower Studios, Chris spent several happy years working in production at Y107-FM in Long Branch, where he also created and produced the weekly “Beatles Sunday Brunch” program. (His daughters appreciated the free concert tickets from that era.) Later, he took a part-time job as an engineer at WMCX-FM at Monmouth University, which sparked a new era for him: He went back to school, eventually completing a BA at Monmouth and then an MA at Montclair State University. During those years he also worked at WBGO-FM, Newark’s legendary jazz station, where he produced “Portraits in Blue.”

The pinnacle of his career, both personally and professionally, was the time he spent in the Communications Department at Monmouth University, where he taught audio engineering and radio broadcasting, as well as overseeing the campus radio and TV stations and serving as advisor to the MU chapter of the National Broadcasting Society.

A passionate photographer, Chris was famous for torturing uncooperative family members with “just one more” group photo at holidays and reunions. He knew at least a little bit (and often quite a bit more) about a wide array of topics, and in the heyday of Trivial Pursuit often beat the rest of the extended family single-handedly. In recent years he gained considerable pleasure from helping his older granddaughter record her first songwriting efforts and from teasing his younger granddaughter that he was going to eat her toes.

Chris loved the Yankees and the blues. In fact, music was his life, as was eating outrageously spicy food, debating remarkable and mundane world events and amassing an extensive CD and DVD collection. He could simultaneously be ornery and have a mischievous twinkle in his eye. His family is so sad to lose him. He made them smile and laugh. He infuriated them. He inspired them. He made them crazy. He loved them, and they loved him.

Chris was predeceased by his parents, Anthony William and Lillian Marjorie Whittaker Cavallaro, and three siblings: Mary Catherine and William Anthony, both of whom died shortly after birth, and his beloved little sister Lisa Marie, who passed away at 17 in 1968 from cystic fibrosis.

In addition to his wife, Peggy, Chris is survived by their daughters: Michaela Maria of Portland, Maine, and Erin Christine Cavallaro Hill and her husband Peter Hill of South Portland, Maine. He was the proud grandfather of Skylar Cook and Maëlle Hill. He is also survived by two brothers, Carl Thomas and his wife Julie of Princeton, N.J., and Anthony William Jr. of Flemington, N.J., as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation on Monday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at the O’Brien Funeral Home, 2028 Hwy 35 at New Bedford Rd., Wall. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Tuesday, January 17, 2016 at 10:00am at the Church of St. Rose, 603 7th Ave., Belmar, NJ 07719. Private committal will follow.

In memory of Chris, the family requests that donations be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or the St. Denis (Manasquan) Recovery Ministry.

For directions, to offer online condolences or for further information please visit


When Monday, January 16th, 2017 4:00pm - 7:00pm
O'Brien Funeral Home - Wall
2028 NJ-35
Wall, NJ 07719

Service Information

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 10:00am
St. Rose of Lima Church - Belmar
7th Avenue
Belmar, NJ 07719

Interment Information

At the Convenience of the Family


  • Crucifix

  • Monmouth University

  • Music Notes
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