Charlie Amorosi, 1945-2022: mad as a fox
A gentle, cheerful man with a raspy voice combined with a heavy New Jersey accent, Charlie Amorosi – known to his friends as “Crazy Charlie” for his general approach to piloting high-performance powerboats that included a Baja and Velocity V-funds and Specter catamarans – passed away yesterday from long-standing health complications aggravated by a recent COVID-19 infection in southwest Florida. He was 77 years old.
Charlie Amorosi and his wife, Lois, were an integral part of the Garden State boating community. Photos by Tim Sharkey copyright Sharkey Images.
Before moving to Southwest Florida with his wife, Lois, over a decade ago, Amorosi was an integral part of Garden State’s fasting scene, a crew that included Bob “Baba Ganoush” Christie (Amorosi coined the nickname Christie, who he also called “The Bob Father”), Dave Patnaude, former manager of the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club, “Bazooka” Joe Nasso, Thomas “Tom A” Anselmi, Frank “Frankie Five Angels” Civitano (another Amorosi-born nickname), Pete Mazzo and the late Anthony (pronounced “Ant-Knee”) Jumped. From the mid to late 1990s through the first decade of the 2000s, the tight-knit group traveled, sailed, and raised General[ygood-naturedhelltogether[ygood-naturedhelltogether[yl’enferdebonnehumeurensemble[ygood-naturedhelltogether
From their weekend adventures on New Jersey’s famous Barnegat Bay to their annual group trips to Key West, Florida for the annual Ocean Racing World Championships, they were inseparable. They teased each other mercilessly and loved each other unconditionally. A former English teacher who eventually left the world of education to get into grocery shopping, Amorosi often found himself at the center of the group cracking jokes — and cracking — in his high-pitched voice.
A charismatic presence, Amorosi often found himself the center of attention.
The Shore Dreams for Kids events, which provided an annual day of on and off the water fun and food for physically and mentally challenged children and their families in Seaside Heights, NJ, galvanized the group.
“Charlie was an honest, genuine, funny guy with a heart of gold,” said New Jersey-based veteran powerboat photographer Tim Sharkey. “He played a major role at Shore Dreams For Kids – he worked for Wakefern Food Corporation and donated a tractor-trailer full of food and drink for the event every year.”
Nasso and Patnaude have both been part of the organizing group Shore Dreams for years. Both have come to know and love Amorosi with a big heart.
“Nobody looked forward to Shore Dreams every year more than Charlie – he loved giving it back,” Nasso said. “He was one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met.
Patnaude said: “Without Crazy Charlie, there would never have been Shore Dreams – he played a huge role. He was also an early member of the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club. He was funny and charismatic. His enthusiasm was contagious and everyone loved him.
“I cried a lot last night,” he added.
Captured here with his wife, Lois, Amorosi was an early member of the former New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club.
Anselmi and Christie, both still active in the world of speed boating, were among Amorosi’s closest friends. Although they knew he was seriously ill and unlikely to recover, yesterday’s news still hit hard.
“My heart is broken,” Anselmi wrote on his Facebook page. “We lost another great man today. God speed, Crazy Charlie, and thank you for being like an uncle to me. Watch out for us ‘hooligans’ until we meet again.
Christie recalled that Amorosi used to pray for him and his other boating friends at church ahead of upcoming poker weekends.
Flanked by Karen Conti and Joe Nasso, Charlie Amoroso was a legend in the New Jersey high performance boating community. Photo by Bob Christie.
“This guy was special to me and my family, really special to all of us,” Christie said, her voice cracking with emotion. “Everyone loved him. He would do anything for anyone. There are very few people in this industry that I would do anything for, fly anywhere anytime. Charlie was one of these people.
Christie paused for a moment, then burst out laughing. “Charlie always ran out of gas during poker games. He always thought he could calculate it, but he could never do it right. Once when he came back from Islamorada, he told me that he was having trouble with his gas pumps. I said, ‘Both fuel pumps, Charlie? Put gas in it. It was just Charlie. We have lost a really special guy.
A memorial service for Amorosi is scheduled for Sunday, February 13, which would have been his 78th birthday. Speedonthewater.com will provide more information as it becomes available.