Dominic “Tip” DiDonato, 91, of Hammonton, passed away at his home on January 1, 2023 surrounded by his loving family. A lifelong resident of Hammonton, Tip learned his legendary work ethic from a young age, having purchased a 20-acre blueberry farm with his brother John at the age of 12. Tip graduated from Hammonton High School in 1949. He served in the Marine Corps from 1952-54, stationed in Japan during the Korean War, during which time his brother John sold the farm and bought a four-lane bowling center. When Tip returned from the service, they grew and expanded the business, adding more lanes and a cocktail lounge, until a fire destroyed everything in 1966. Underinsured, Tip and John, through grit and determination, rebuilt the business from the ground up, laying the foundation for what today is DiDonato Family Fun Center.
Tip was a man of great integrity who always gave back to the community. He was a longtime member of the Chamber of Commerce who received the “Nice Going Award” in 2014. Tip was once again honored by the Chamber in 2022 when the family business was awarded Industry of the Year. Tip served in local, regional, and national Bowling Proprietor organizations.
Having always been an ardent fan of sports who made the All-Atlantic County baseball team in high school and played semi-professional ball upon returning from his military service, Tip supported youth athletics by sponsoring local teams for 70 years. A devoted family man, Tip beamed with pride for his three sons and their families. He never missed an event for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Tip is responsible for inspiring his family’s work ethic, often quoting his Class of ‘49 motto: “Climb though the rocks be rugged.” Tip spent 58 wonderful years with his loving wife Phyllis. They were always the life of the party, especially in the basement of their Hammonton home and at the shore on their boat and later on the back deck of their home on the water in Ocean City.
Tip was predeceased by his devoted wife; Phyllis (nee Chiappine), and is survived by three loving sons, Donny and wife Tracey, Steve and wife Debbie, and John and wife Gigi; grandchildren, Christina Dillon (Drew), Matthew, Erin, and Zachary; great-grandchildren, Luke and Filomena Dillon; sister, Mary Jane Short of Vero Beach; brother-in-law, John Calderone, who was more like a brother; and many nieces and nephews who he treated like his own children. Tip was also predeceased by his parents, Dominic and Marina (Galletta); and brother, John.
Relatives and friends were invited to attend a viewing on Thursday, January 5, from 6-8 p.m. and Friday 9-11 a.m., at the Marinella Funeral Home, 102 N. 3rd St, Hammonton, N.J. A service was held 11 a.m. Friday at the funeral home. Interment will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 248 S First Rd. Hammonton, N.J. 08037. Donations may be made in Tip’s memory to the Hammonton Little League, care of The DiDonato Family, 1151 S. White Horse Pike, Hammonton. To share a condolence, please visit marinellafuneralhome.com
Arrangements made by Marinella Funeral Home