Joseph S. Mack, 90, a pizza icon on the Wildwood boardwalk for many years, died Tuesday, April 30, of advanced age at his home in Cape May Court House.
“Joe Mack,” as he was known in Wildwood, was cofounder and co-owner of the famous Mack’s Pizza enterprise, which he operated with his brothers, Vincent and Dominick “Duke” Mack.
They opened the business in 1953. In its heyday in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, Mack’s had pizza shops on the boardwalk -- at Wildwood, Roberts, Glenwood, and Lincoln Avenues.
The shops specialized in the Neapolitan style of pizza with a thin crust, and pepperoni was a big seller.
“We would make pies nonstop. We would go all day,” said his nephew Darryl Mack, who worked with Mr. Mack in the seasonal business. “He was the mainstay of the Glenwood Avenue shop for years until it burned down.”
The Lincoln Avenue site also burned, leaving the Wildwood and Roberts Avenue shops, which are run by his nephews Darryl and Ronald Mack, the third generation of the Mack family to do so.
Despite being busy making pies, Mr. Mack always had time to talk to customers, some of whom came back generation after generation.
“Joe was as friendly as they come,” Darryl Mack said. “He was like a celebrity. Years after he retired, former customers would come into Mack’s and ask where Joe was.”
Mr. Mack liked to come into Mack’s to visit, even in retirement. “He was there on Good Friday,” his nephew said.
News of Mr. Mack’s death appeared April 30 on the Facebook page Watch the Tram Car Please. “Our condolences to the Mack Family, to all current and former employees, and all Wildwoodians who for generations loved his famous Mack’s Pizza,” the announcement said.
Born in Luzerne, Pa., and raised in Trenton, Mr. Mack lived in Yardley before settling in Cape May Court House, where he spent the last 40 years. His parents were Anthony and Lena Maruca Mack.
Although Mr. Mack was an avid New York Yankees fan, he enjoyed following all sports, including horse racing.
Both his brothers and a sister, Catherine Moloney, died earlier. He is survived by his companion of more than 50 years, Sharon L. Maines, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
Calling hours from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Monday, May 6, will be followed by a 2 p.m. funeral at the Brenna Funeral Home, Immordino Chapel, 1799 Klockner Rd., Hamilton, N.J. Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Hamilton Township.