Juan Chitarroni, 74

Dec. 5, 1943 - Sept. 9, 2018
Juan Chitarroni, Dec. 5, 1943 - Sept. 9, 2018

Juan Chitarroni, who grew up in Buenos Aires but lived on the East End for 50 years, died on Sunday at the age of 74. 

He was making one of his “daily dump runs” to the East Hampton Town recycling center on Springs-Fireplace Road when he had a massive heart attack, his daughter, Florencia DiRaffaele, said. His car crashed into another, and he was pronounced dead at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.

Her father had worked in the restaurant industry, including at the Palm restaurant in East Hampton, where he was a waiter, his daughter said. “He always had two jobs until he was in his 60s. He didn’t like to sit still.” 

In 1969, at 24, he came to the United States for a summer job at Gurney’s Inn in Montauk. In the off-season, he returned to Argentina, where he and his father had a tire repair shop, and then, for several years, came back to Montauk in the summer to wait tables or work in the kitchen at Gurney’s Inn.

Mr. Chitarroni was proud of having become a United States citizen, along with his wife, Aida Chitarroni, in 1994. “He lived three-quarters of his life here. This was home. He loved Argentina, but this was home,” his daughter said.

He had survived an abdominal aortic aneurysm 12 years ago as well as colon cancer four years ago, his daughter said. The family took solace in knowing he did not suffer, she said, adding that he never would have wanted to live without being able to do the things he enjoyed. 

Mr. Chitarroni and his twin sister, Elsa, were born on Dec. 5, 1943, in Buenos Aires to Juan Chitarroni and the former Amelia Guardia. He served in the Argentine National Guard in his early 20s. 

Mr. Chitarroni met the former Aida Esther Della Corte in their native Argentina through her father, who also worked at Gurney’s. They married on Feb. 3, 1975, and with their daughter put down roots in Montauk a year later. They lived there until buying a house on Olive Street in Springs in 1987. 

In the early 1990s, Mr. Chitarroni went into real estate. He worked for Blue Bay and Prudential, to name a few, and then was with Nest Seekers during the last few years. 

At home, he loved to cook for his family and drink fine wine with his son-in-law, Jeffrey DiRaffaele. He was close to his grandchildren and often accompanied his daughter’s family on vacations. He taught Olivia DiRaffaele, 15, to tango and salsa, and enjoyed sausage sandwiches with his 13-year-old grandson, Alex DiRaffaele. 

Each morning, he started his day with coffee and a doughnut with friends at the East Hampton store Scoop du Jour, to which he had been going since it was Dreesen’s. He also enjoyed joining friends at the Maidstone Gun Club, where he usually could be found on Sunday mornings.

Mr. Chitarroni loved animals, particularly dogs, and he and his family had adopted several dogs from the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, to which they have suggested memorial contributions, at P.O. Box 901, Wainscott 11975.

“Juan left a lasting impression on everyone he met. Everyone loved him,” his family said.

His wife, his daughter, who lives in Norwalk, Conn., and two grandchildren survive. His parents died before him, as did his twin sister, who died three years ago.

Mr. Chitarroni did not want a wake or a solemn memorial, his daughter said. Instead, a celebration of his life will be held at his home tomorrow at 3 p.m. All who knew him will be welcomed.