Vincent James Donato, beloved son of Kathleen (Salmon) Donato of Florida and James Anthony Donato of South Plainfield, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Feb. 29 in Arizona.
Vincent was born at Saint Peter’s Medical Center in New Brunswick on June 20, 1987. He lived in Kendall Park with this parents, and after his sister Sherrie-Lynne was born, the family moved back to South Plainfield across the street from where his father grew up on Van Fleet Avenue.
Vincent attended Riley School, playing T-ball and baseball with the South Plainfield Junior Baseball Club, beginning with C-League. He made lifelong friends in South Plainfield and with them explored the woods and streams in and around his house. When he was about 11 years old, he and his best bud Kevin became lost in the woods for hours, and were found by a South Plainfield Police Officer who lived nearby.
In 2000, Vincent moved to Oceanport with his mom and sister. He attended Shore Regional High School there, playing baseball and wrestling. He was an outstanding ball player, and grew up an avid Yankees fan. Academically, Vincent was super smart and everything seemed to come easy to him. He made friends fast, many who are still his best friends to this day.
In Oceanport, Vincent developed his love for anything and everything outdoors. Close to the shore, he spent many summers on the beach in an around Long Branch and Asbury Park. He had his mother’s adventurous spirit and loved to spend time outside fishing, hiking, camping, & kayaking. When he wasn’t with his friends, he spent numerous years at the beach with his mom and sister, and they vacationed together often.
Family was the most important thing to Vincent. He often told his dad, James, that he got his strong work ethic from him. He got his smarts from his grandfather, Anthony (Tinny) Donato and his ability to work with his hands, with little or no training, from his great-grandfather, Vincent, who he was named after. He got his good looks from his dad (who he is the spitting image of from when he was young) and from his Irish Salmon family, including his beautiful mother.
Vincent moved to Arizona in 2017 where he met his beloved girlfriend, Mallory Condrath. He returned to New Jersey in 2018 to tie up loose ends, and moved back to Arizona in 2019 intent on starting a new life with Mallory. While In Arizona, he completed the program at Crossroads for Men Midtown in Phoenix and was asked to stay on as a staff member. He was the office manager at Crossroads Midtown and was in charge of the front desk and also worked side jobs as a home improvement contractor.
Over his short life, Vincent worked many jobs, mostly outdoors in New Jersey. He was a dock builder at Atlantic Dock & Bulkhead, a pile driver at Atlantic Pile, a boat lift technician at Atlantic Boat Lifts, lead carpenter at Procon Inc. and a pipe fitter apprentice at UA Local 469.
Vincent was a hard worker, and before learning his trades on the job, he worked in the deli at Shoprite in Shrewsbury, bragging once that he sliced bologna for Jon Bon Jovi’s wife. He also worked at Panera Bread and as a server at Mike and Nellie’s Steakhouse in Oakhurst, which was later featured on Gordon Ramsey’s television show, Kitchen Nightmares.
Vincent was always on the brink of greatness, and his bright star burned out too soon.
Vincent took great pride in his family, most recently including his beloved niece, Aubrey Irene; and his friendships, which were extremely important to him. He was a Grateful Dead fan beyond belief, and we often joked that he was born in the wrong decade. He and his beloved girlfriend, Mallory, an art teacher in Arizona, took part in the teachers’ protests for better pay in 2018 and created their own unique protest signs utilizing Grateful Dead song lyrics and artwork from Phish.
Vincent was predeceased by his maternal grandfather, William Salmon; his paternal grandparents, Anthony and Lorraine Donato, who passed away in 2016; his paternal great-grandparents, Vincent and Helen; his maternal great-grandparents, Louis and Mary; his beloved aunt Karen (Donato) Kapsch who passed away in 1998 and his cousin and friend, Danny Bellonio Jr., who passed away in 2016.
Vincent is survived by his mother, Kathleen (Salmon) Donato of Florida and his grandmother, Irene Salmon of Toms River; his father, James A. Donato and stepmom Jeanmarie of South Plainfield; his beloved sister, Sherrie-Lynne Donato and daughter Aubrey Irene, of Florida; two stepbrothers, Michael and Robert, both of California; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins including his great uncle Donald LaMothe and wife Diane; aunts and uncles Dr. Thomas Salmon and daughter Jessica, Mary Grillo and husband Bobby, Bill Salmon and wife Doris and their children Ryan, Kyle and Julia; Nancy Langan and husband Mark and their children Jennifer, Jack and Luke; Terry Salmon and wife Judy and their son Owen; Michael Salmon and wife Anjanette and their children Michael, Mackenzie and Matthew; Cheryl Bellonio and husband Dan and their son Anthony of Piscataway, Kathy Hajduk and husband Michael of South Plainfield and their children Lori Dranchak and fiancé Mike of Old Bridge and Michael, Marshall and Melissa Hajduk of Edison; John Donato and wife Wendi and their children Taylor and Jamie, Danny Kapsch and his children Danny Kapsch Jr. and wife Janine and Michael Kapsch, all of South Plainfield, and Joseph Kapsch of California. Vincent is also survived by his lifelong best friends, Kevin Hohner and Doug Dietzel, and James, Andrew, Jessica and Leigh from the Jersey shore, as well as hundreds of friends from Oceanport, Long Branch, Asbury Park and Arizona.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2020 beginning at 11:00 a.m. at Costello-Runyon Funeral Home, 568 Middlesex Ave. (Rt. 27), Metuchen followed by burial at Holy Redeemer Cemetery in South Plainfield.
Viewing for family and friends will be at the funeral home on Friday, March 6, 2020 from 4 to 8 p.m.
A candlelight memorial service will be held on Monday, March 9, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information, visit Vincent’s Facebook page.
Please, no flowers. Donations in Vincent’s memory to either the South Plainfield Police Department, Oxford House in Asbury Park or Crossroads for Men Midtown in Phoenix, Arizona would be greatly appreciated.
“The future's here, we are it, we are on our own. If the game is lost then we're all the same. No one left to place or take the blame. We will leave this place an empty stone on this shinning ball of blue we can call our home. So the kids they dance, they shake their bones while the politicians are throwing stones. Singing ashes, ashes all fall down.” Throwing Stones, Grateful Dead