andrew calamaro

Doo-wop motel owner Andrew A. Calamaro died Sunday at Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House. He was 70.

Calamaro purchased the Pink Champagne Motel in Wildwood in 1983 while still working for Wawa Inc. as a property developer. When he retired from Wawa, running the motel became his full-time passion.

Calamaro’s sister, Marion Gibbons, said Thursday that he took great pride in the motel, a classic example of doo-wop architecture of the 1950s and 1960s in Wildwood.

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“He was very, very proud of that,” she said.

The 24-unit motel with its pink neon sign is a highlight of the Back to the ’50s Neon Night Tour operated by the Doo Wop Preservation League.

Gibbons said he worked to keep the motel modern and updated while maintaining its historic character.

Calamaro became ill last November, but Gibbons said he managed to come down to Wildwood this year for one last summer.

“He fought and fought and fought and his goal was to get to the shore this summer,” his sister said.

She described her brother as “a quietly generous man” who loved his family.

Steve Tecco, president of the Greater Wildwood Hotel and Motel Association said the motel operator had a reputation for caring for the motel.

“They were just so typical of the best of the boutique motels, the small family motels,” Tecco said.

An employee said Calamaro would be missed.

“This whole motel is mourning,” she said.

Calamaro, of Ambler, Pa., was born there Oct. 5, 1942, to the late Victor and Alberta (Boccuti) Calamaro.

He was a graduate of St. Matthew High School Class of ’60 and attended the Pierce School of Business.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War in the Military Police Division.

Calamaro is survived by his sister Marion Gibbons (Edward) and a brother Anthony Calamaro (MaryLou); two nephews, two nieces, six great-nephews, a great-niece and many cousins.

Relatives and friends are invited to his funeral Mass at 11 a.m. today  at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 259 Forest Ave., Ambler.

A visitation will be held from 9:30- 11 a.m. at the church. Interment will be in St. Anthony of Padua Cemetery, Ambler.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Andrew's name may be made to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Lockbox # 1352 PO Box 8500, Philadelphia, PA 19178. Arrangements are with the Emil J. Ciavarelli Family Funeral Homes, Ambler and Conshohocken.

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