Frank J. "Hank" Pignata

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Frank J. "Hank" Pignata

AGE: 84 Lakewood

Frank J. "Hank" Pignata, 84, of Lakewood, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011, at Bayshore Community Hospital, Holmdel. Born in Staten Island, he resided in Tompkinsville, St George, and Dongan Hills before retiring to The Four Seasons, Lakewood in 1997. A graduate of McKee Vocational High School in 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17 and served on the battleship Pennsylvania in the Pacific Theater of World War II. He was the recipient of the Asiatic Pacific Medal, the American Theater Medal and the Victory Medal for his military service to the United States. In the late 1940's to the 1950's, he was the head basketball coach for Staten Island's Police Athletic League's Tompkinsville Blue Jays team. He was a graduate of the Delahanty Institute for mechanical drafting beginning his career as a mechanical engineer for S.S. White Inc., designing dental equipment. Later, he was a nuclear engineer for Ebasco Services, and was one of the key designers of Princeton University's Plasma Physics Fusion Laboratory, before retiring in 1982. He was the co-inventor of the Nuclear Buoyancy Elevator, a device for transporting plutonium inside nuclear reactors. He became a real estate broker with Master Real Estate, and a partner in Shapiro Associates. Always scientific and inventive, he held the patents of several inventions for the disabled and elderly. He enjoyed oil painting, the New York Yankees, traveling to Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Italy, and a trip "south" to Atlantic City.

He was predeceased by his parents, Frank Sr. and Rose D'Andrea Pignata. Surviving are his wife of 58 years, Anne (Lamattina) Pignata; daughters, Janice Agnello and her husband Richard of Matawan, and Barbara Bryant and her husband, Richard of Hazlet; two grandsons, Daniel Agnello and Richard Bryant Jr.; a sister, Clare Vitale of Staten Island; an uncle, Alfonso Pignata of Contursi, Italy; many nieces and nephews, and many cousins in Italy.

Cremation will be private under the direction of Day Funeral Home, Keyport. A Memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 19 at St. Ann's R.C. Church, 101 Cromwell Ave., Staten Island, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in Hank's memory are sent to the American Parkinson Disease Association, Inc., 135 Parkinson Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305. To offer the family online condolences, please visit


Published in Asbury Park Press on Mar. 1, 2011
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