Rites Set For 3 Victims Of Seton Hall Dorm Fire

Posted: January 21, 2000

John N. Giunta, one of the victims of the Seton Hall University dorm fire, was described by a Vineland school official as the kind of student you want to have in your school.

From all accounts, the same could be said for the fire's other two victims: Aaron Christopher "A.K." Karol of Green Brook, N.J., and Frank S. Caltabilota of West Long Branch, N.J. The three 18-year-olds became freshmen at the university after outstanding high school careers.

Services for them will be held in their communities over the weekend and on Monday. Seton Hall, in South Orange, N.J., has declared Monday a day of mourning at the university and will hold an 11 a.m. memorial service.

Mr. Giunta was a lifelong resident of Vineland, Cumberland County.

Wanting to become a teacher, he was majoring in elementary education at Seton Hall. He was a member of the Educational Opportunities Program and the Student New Jersey Education Association. He also was a member of the PEP Band.

As part of the university's community-service requirement, Mr. Giunta volunteered in Essex County public schools. He continued to do volunteer work there long after completing the requirement, said William McDevitt, director of the Vineland High School marching band.

Mr. Giunta graduated in 1999 from Vineland High School, where he was first trumpet player in the marching band and a member of the stage band. He also was a member of the track team, the Debate Club, and the Model Congress club.

Teaching "would have been the perfect job for him," McDevitt said.

He is survived by his mother, Debra Goudy; his father and stepmother, Phillip and Carol; brothers Peter L., Michael A. and Dominic F.; a sister, Amy J.; his paternal grandparents, Peter and Philomenia; and his maternal grandmother, Jean Goudy.

Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Pancoast Funeral Home, 676 S. Main Rd., Vineland, and after 11:30 a.m. Monday at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, 23 W. Chestnut St., Vineland. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at noon Monday in the church. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Vineland.

Memorial donations may be made to the John N. Giunta Scholarship Fund in care of Peter Giunta, 2839 Sanford Dr., Vineland, N.J. 08361.

Mr. Karol had lived in Green Brook since 1986, and previously resided in North Plainfield, N.J.

He was majoring in psychology and minoring in criminal justice. He received University and President's Circle scholarships.

A 1999 Watchung Hills Regional High School graduate, Mr. Karol was a starting fullback on the soccer team that was a Somerset County cochampion in 1998.

"He was one of four great defenders . . . on a team that in 22 games gave up a total of only nine goals," coach Daniel Root said.

Also a poet, Mr. Karol was a contributor to the Folio, the high school's literary magazine, and was a member of the Debate Team, the Environmental Club and the Nike Club.

"He was a very enthusiastic young man; he had an energy about him that was contagious," said Robert Baly, the school superintendent.

Mr. Karol also was a music fan, and enjoyed snowboarding.

He volunteered at the Pediatric Ward of Overlook Hospital in Summit.

Mr. Karol is survived by his parents, Joe and Candy; a sister, Melissa; his paternal grandparents, Cecelia and Joseph; and his maternal grandfather, Raymond Engebrit.

Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow and from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, Somerset County. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, 315 N. Washington Ave., Dunellen, N.J. Entombment will be in Resurrection Mausoleum, Piscataway, N.J.

Memorial donations may be made to the Aaron Christopher Karol Scholarship Fund, Watchung Hills Regional High School, 108 Stirling Rd., Warren, N.J. 07059.

Mr. Caltabilota was a lifelong resident of of West Long Branch in Monmouth County.

A 1999 graduate of Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch, Mr. Caltabilota was named outstanding defensive back in his senior year on the football team, which won the Central Jersey Group 1 title in 1997 and was runner up in 1998.

He also was a starting wide receiver, said Mark Constantino, the head football coach. He was a leader on and off the field and wanted to become a doctor.

Mr. Caltabilota was captain of the freshman basketball, baseball and football teams. Later, he was a member of the junior varsity and varsity basketball and baseball teams.

He served on the class advisory board for the sophomore carnival and on the junior prom, class fund-raising, senior fashion show and prom committees. He also was a class treasurer.

A senior honor student, Mr. Caltabilota received scholarships from Commerce Bank and the AFL/CIO.

He is survived by his parents, Frank and Joanne; a brother, Thomas; sisters Tracey and Gina; his paternal grandmother, Mary; and his maternal grandparents, Joseph and Marion Marotta.

Friends may call from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday and after 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Damiano Funeral Home, Third and Franklin Avenues, Long Branch. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. at St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Church, 254 Wall St., West Long Branch. Burial will be in Woodbine Cemetery, Oceanport, N.J.

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