In Memory

Michael Vernotico

Michael Vernotico

Michael J. Vernotico, of Summit, NJ, passed away on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at the age of 74.
The visitation will be held at Paul Ippolito Summit Memorial, 7 Summit Ave., Summit, NJ on Tuesday, March 23rd, from 4-8 PM The Memorial Service will be celebrated at St. Teresa of Avila Church, 306 Morris Ave., Summit, NJ on Wednesday, March 24th, at 9:30 AM and can viewed using the following livestream link Burial will follow at at St. Teresa’s Cemetery, Summit, NJ.

Michael was born in Newark, NJ to Eugenia (nee Preno) and Benedetto Vernotico. He had resided in Millburn, NJ for many years before moving to Summit 25 years ago.

Michael was a graduate of Princeton University, where he was a proud member of the football team, with a degree in engineering. He was a veteran of the US Navy.

Michael had an illustrious career in construction consulting and architecture. He had worked on many projects, and, most recently, he owned and operated Landmark Realty in Summit.

Michael was a sports enthusiast and loved to coach. He coached football, baseball, and basketball through the years in Millburn-Short Hills, Summit, and New Providence. Mike loved to spend time at his family’s house at Lake Mohawk, where he enjoyed boating and waterskiing.

Mike was also very involved with politics and served as both a committee member and mayor of Millburn-Short Hills as well as councilman for the City of Summit.

Michael’s greatest love was for his family. He is survived by his beloved wife of almost 50 years, Joanne (nee Merolle) of Summit; his dear mother Eugenia Vernotico of Summit; his loving son Ryan Vernotico and his wife Arely of New Providence his cherished grandchildren, Dylan and Amy, other relatives and friends and their puppy TuTu. Michael was pre-deceased by his father Benedetto Vernotico.

In lieu of flowers please make donations in his memory through his personal memorial donation page at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Michael J Vernotico please visit our Tribute Store.

Former Two-Term Summit Council Member, Passionate Community Volunteer Michael Vernotico Passes Away


March 20, 2021 at 7:19 PM

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Former Two-Term Summit Council Member, Passionate Community Volunteer Michael Vernotico Passes Away

Michael Vernotico and his fellow Summit High School class of 1964 classmates celebrated their 50th Reunion in 2014.Credits: TAPinto Summit File Photo / Summit High School Class of '64 50th Reunion Committee

SUMMIT, NJ - Former City of Summit Ward 2 Council Member Michael Vernotico has passed away. The City of Summit announced that Vernotico passed away March 20 due to complications from a fall he suffered earlier in the week.

A member of the Summit High School Class of 1964, Vernotico served on Council from 2006 through 2011, and as President Pro Tem of Common Council in 2009. He was a member of the Summit Housing Authority in 2007 to 2008, and a member of the Summit Board of Education in 2006, 2008 and 2009. 

"We are saddened to learn of the unexpected passing of Michael Vernotico,” said Summit Mayor Nora Radest. “I appreciate and will remember his strong commitment to community service and love for our city. I share my heartfelt condolences with the Vernotico family during this extremely difficult time.”

Vernotico's service to the community as a volunteer was so vast that the catalog of Summit organizations to which he selflessly gave his time reads like a virtual A to Z  list -- from the afore-mentioned Affordable Housing Authority to the Zoning Board and more than two dozen Committees, Boards, organizations, youth sports leagues / teams and endeavors in between.

The City of Summit assembled a list of his service on City Committees and Boards:

Council Member Michael Vernotico

Council Member - Ward 2 

First Term: 2006 - 2008 

Second Term: 2009 - 2011

President Pro Tem 


Buildings & Grounds Committee 


General Services Committee 


Law Committee 

2007, 2009-2010 (Chair 2009)

Public Safety Committee 

2006 – 2008; 2010 (Chair 2006-2008, 2010)

Public Works Committee 

2008 - 2009

Affordable Housing Committee 


Civil Rights Commission 


Communications & Info Technology 


Community Programs Advisory Board 


Downtown Parking Advisory Committee 


Board of Education 

2006, 2008, 2009

Environmental Commission 


Board of Health 


Historic Preservation Commission 


Housing Authority 


Joint Fields Committee 

2006-2007; 2009-2011

Recreation Commission 


Redevelopment Committee 

2010 – 2011

Stop the Train Coalition 


Summit Chamber of Commerce 


Summit Downtown, Inc. 


Transfer Station Redevelopment Cmte. 


Utilities Advisory Committee 


Wilson Park Task Force 


Zoning Board 


Council Liaison to Assemblyman  

Bramnick’s Office


Council Liaison to Senator Menedez’s Office 


Council Liaison to Bouras, Inc. 

2007 - 2009

Council Liaison to Summit Medical Group 


Source: City of Summit

Thank You, Coach Mike

Photo Credit: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit



PublishedAugust 29, 2021 at 11:21 PM

Last UpdatedAugust 30, 2021 at 12:26 AM

His wife Joanne and family, his Hilltopper football teammates, and Summit Mayor Nora Radest all gathered on the turf at Tatlock Field during the Summit Youth Football 2021 Season Kick-Off Pep Rally to honor and say thank you to Mike Vernotico. 

Vernotico, a Summit icon who was -- among his many civic involvements -- a two-term Summit Common Council Member, passed away on March 20, 2020. One of his passions was coaching youth sports, which included many years serving as a coach and driving force of Summit Youth Football.

Vernotico himself was a member of the 1963 Summit High School Football Team that went undefeated. The '63 squad was part of the inaugural Summit High School Athletic Hall of Fame Class.




Proclaiming August 29 as 'Michael Vernotico Appreciation Day', Radest read the following proclamation:

"WHEREAS, Michael Vernotico was a sports enthusiast from early childhood, and


WHEREAS, Mike was a proud member of the Summit High School track team and the football team, which won the Conference and State titles and was Summit High School's first undefeated, untied team, and

WHEREAS, in 2013 Summit created the Athletic Hall of Fame where Mike and his teammates were the first inductees, and

WHEREAS, when Mike graduated from Summit High School in 1964, he attended Princeton University on three academic scholarships and earned three varsity letters, and


WHEREAS, when Mike graduated from Princeton in 1968 where he played football and lacrosse, he enlisted in the United States Navy as an officer for four years before returning to Summit in 1972, where he started his youth football coaching career, and

WHEREAS, Mike volunteered his time to the Summit Football Program for many years, and always had a deep interest in its success, loving to see the players that he coached excel in their skills, and

WHEREAS, Mike was a member of Common Council from 2006 - 2011, where he served as Chair of its Law Committee and Public Safety Committee, and

WHEREAS, Mike served in 2006 as a member of the Recreation, Youth Services and Senior Citizens Task Force, which was charged with the responsibility of developing the Mission, Vision and Structure for the new Department of Community Programs, and

WHEREAS, Coach Vernotico and his fourth grade football team helped raise over $2,000 dollars for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Fund, and

WHEREAS, Mike Vernotico sadly passed away on Saturday, March 20, 2021 and is missed dearly by his family and friends.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Nora G. Radest, Mayor of the City of Summit, do hereby proclaim August 29, 2021 as:


in the City of Summit and urge all residents to join me in honoring Mike for all his efforts towards making Summit a better place for all, and especially for its youth."

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03/24/21 04:40 PM #15    

Peter Heath (Heath)

I was shocked and saddened by Mike's resent passing. He was a class act in every way. Mike will be missed by so many who knew him

03/24/21 07:56 PM #16    

Carolyn B. Frantzen (LaBouliere)

I was shattered to hear about Mike's tragic accident. He was so welcoming at the 3 reunions I attended--most recently the 55th .  My heart breaks for his family ; a huge spark has gone out of the world. He will be missed.

Carolyn Frantzen LaBouliere




03/25/21 07:56 AM #17    

Jim Grube

We are all so saddened with Mike’s passing.  Throughout our years at SHS up to 2021, almost 60 years, Mike has been at the center of our class; a friend for those of us who have moved away and an active leader and friend in the Summit community.  His friendship knew no limits.


Perhaps my fondest memories of Mike are tied with Summit Football.  Michael Vernotico absolutely loved the game of football and in Summit he found a home.  His loyalty, dedication and admiration of Howie Anderson was an inspiration to me and I count myself as one of many who held Howie in such high regard.  


When talking football and reliving our Hilltopper memories I was always amazed at his recall.  Mike could recite all the games we ever played, home or away, the score, the weather.  Mike still could recall the plays and his blocking assignments.


A  wonderful teammate and wonderful classmate.

03/25/21 08:19 PM #18    

Reiner Huppert

I was shocked to hear of Mike's passing.  Ellen and I appreciated the good times during Mike and his wife's great hospitality at the reunion get-togethers.

03/26/21 07:30 AM #19    

Suzanna Marion (Baum)

When I read the notice of Mike Vernotico, I was shocked and saddened. Our world is a bit lonely without him. I am fortunate to have known Mike from Summit High years and through the class reunions until the 55th. He was always the same kind, thoughtful, genuine, dependable, funny, wise, humble, generous, caring man. The reflections and comments from our classmates have been a source of shared comfort.

03/26/21 09:50 AM #20    

Susan B. Nestler

I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Mike's untimely death. Mike was a truly good person. He was kind and generous and I will always be grateful for his friendship. The Friday night reunion parties were a wonderful way to kick off the weekend. He attended my family's traditional annual Thanksgiving games and we would talk the entire game--catching up on all news. He brought his adored grandson to a game. Seeing him in that role was heartwarming. Thank you Mike for your dedication and for making the world a better place.  


03/26/21 03:48 PM #21    

Patricia D. Burke (Kuhn)

Mike was such an inspiration in every aspect of his life.  He totally epitomized "A life well-lived."  He touched so many lives and left positive and encouraging thoughts and energy in the hearts of many.  I am very grateful for his influence and his example, and I vow to do more for others in his memory.  Mike, you are so missed!  Hugs and love and prayers for his family and all who knew him.

03/27/21 02:13 PM #22    

Burton Wiand

When I came to Summit for 10th grade, I made a lot of friends  But Mike and a few others were very special and close.  After college, our friendship though distant continued and never waned.  i can still hear that laugh and his teasing me with my childood nickname, "b-boy", that he learned from my mother..He truly enjoyed that, and it would occur eveery time we spoke or met through the years.  To think I will not be hearing that again is hard,. I know we are all aging and some of us will be slipping away, but his passing was my first alert that those friends i treasured the most are not immortal.  I feel a tremendous sense of loss, but am greateful for the friendship and joy that he added to my life.  I know you all feel the same.  As I write this, I feel a tear creeping down my cheek.  It is not the first.  Mike gave much to many and asked little in return.  i loved you buddy.  Rest easy.  

03/28/21 12:30 PM #23    

Paul Falco

So sorry to hear about Mike's passing.  May he rest in peace.

03/29/21 07:14 AM #24    

Donald R. Sawyer

My main contact with Mike was in Junior Class Council, when we organized the Junior Prom. He was always helpful and generous, then and afterwards. After the previous reunions, I missed seeing him again at our 55th reunion. Nowadays, still living in Brazil, it makes me sad to think what is still to come for our classmates and who else I may never see again. It helps to hear from you.

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