Michael Ciavarelli

Obituary of Michael Ciavarelli

Ciavarelli, Michael Paul of Syosset, NY on May 13, 2018, age 94.


Mr. Ciavarelli was born in Glen Cove to Paul and Barbara (Ferri) Ciavarelli.  He was the youngest of 9 siblings, all of whom predeceased him, but gifted him with three generations of nieces and nephews, all of whom deeply mourn his passing.  He is also predeceased by his partner and soul mate of over 50 years, Dr. James S. Alexander, with whom he shared an extraordinary life that included theater, world travel and especially charitable giving.  Mr. Ciavarelli served in the army during WWII, much of his deployment in Hawaii.  His service in the army afforded him the ability to attend college – the first of his siblings to do so – and he graduated from NYU with a major in English.  Later, he also studied in Bologna, Italy and spent two years living in Florence, Italy until the flood of the mid 1960’s forced his evacuation and brought him back to the States. Before actively pursuing a teaching career, Mr. Ciavarelli decided to ply his skills as an actor and with his ebullient personality and charismatic nature he succeeded in winning roles in two Off-Broadway plays, which gained him entrance into the Actors’ Equity Union.  But practicality finally won out and he headed out to California where he taught for two years.  An unsolicited letter from one of his former professors brought the offer of a position teaching English in Garden City High School, back on Long Island.  He remained there for the rest of his career, eventually becoming their Head Librarian.  It was during one of his sojourns in NYC that he met Dr. Alexander, who had done part of his residency in the army in Alaska but was at the time a Resident in Pediatrics at Bellevue Hospital.  Together, they purchased a home in Syosset, where they both created a magnificent garden filled with Day Lilies hybridized by Mr. Ciavarelli and Dr. Alexander’s specialty – Hosta and Daffodils, among other flowers and shrubs. Dr. Alexander joined a Pediatrics practice in Syosset where he remained until his retirement. Their home also became a kind of headquarters for many holidays and family parties and where they used their gardens to host many fundraisers for PWAC, People with Aids Coalition. Mr. Ciavarelli was especially giving when it came to his own siblings and their children, his nieces and nephews. His feeling was that as the youngest of 9, he was afforded many opportunities because of the sacrifices of his older siblings and it was important to him to be able to give back and help out if ever the need arose due to the ups and downs and occasional tragedy that life may bring.



Visiting on Friday, 2-4 and 7-9 pm at Whitting Funeral Home

Funeral Mass on Saturday, 10 am at the Church of St. Rocco, Glen Cove NY.

Interment private.


Contributions may be made to Children’s Literacy Initiative, www.cli.org.