Dr. Rocco

by Matarazzo Family


Growing up in Newark during the 1960’s was a marvelous experience.

My mother was born in Western Pennsylvania to Slavic parents and my father was the son of Italian immigrants. My dad’s mother was raised in an Italian convent. My grandfather somehow, someway made his way to Port-au-Prince, Haiti then onto Saint Lucy’s Parish in Newark. There a parish priest arranged for a marriage between a shoemaker and a would-be nun that would last more than sixty years.

Located at the corner of Mt. Prospect Avenue and Elwood Avenue was Dr. Rocco ’s. It was a modest office that was filled with patients that knew he was their contact with Newark’s unorthodox medical system; they trusted their lives to him. He told my mother to smoke to relieve her nerves and to drink brandy to help build up her blood. Although my mother detested the cigarettes and the taste of brandy, she took his advice and did well but soon discontinued his treatment plan. Dr. Rocco removed my father’s appendix at The American Legion Hospital on Broadway and delivered my brother at Saint James Hospital in the Ironbound section.

Us kids saw Dr. Rocco to alleviate our many earaches, flu symptoms etc. over the years. Dr. Rocco examined us so we could attend Essex Catholic and Rutgers-Newark and many other schools. Unfortunately he died during my college years due to complications from diabetes. He helped many of us to achieve our dreams and grow our families.


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