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Dr. Albert A. Rienzo of Ocean, a cherished husband, father, grandfather, and esteemed ENT physician and surgeon, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones at Jersey Shore University Hospital on February 8, 2024 at the age of 87.
He was born and raised in Jersey City, NJ in a tight knit community of family and friends. A graduate of Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, he embarked on a life journey marked by service, dedication, and boundless compassion. He graduated from the University of Bologna in 1966 with a degree in medicine and completed his internship and surgical residency at Monmouth Medical Center, after which he answered the call to serve his country and joined the United States Army. His commitment to excellence and healing led him to become the Director of the ENT Clinic at the US Army Hospital at Fort Devens. Throughout his military career, he touched countless lives, providing expert care and comfort to those in need.
Albert continued his passion for medicine, after his military service, returning to Monmouth Medical Center in 1974 as an ENT specialist and at the same time established his private practice in Long Branch. He was active in the medical education program and was a senior instructor at MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngologists and International Society of Otolaryngologists. With a gentle touch and a profound understanding of his patients' needs, he became a beacon of hope and healing in his community. Whether treating a common cold or performing intricate surgeries, his dedication to improving the lives of others was unwavering.
As a member of Monmouth Medical’s Staff, Dr. Rienzo served as section Chief of Otolaryngology since 1980, participating in the many initiatives that have shaped this surgical specialty over the past three decades. Under his leadership, Otolaryngologists at Monmouth Medical became the first in the region to perform endoscopic functional sinus surgery to treat chronic sinus disease. They also pioneered the removal of benign or malignant lesions from the larynx with minimally invasive techniques. During the early 1990s, Dr. Rienzo established the Department of Rehabilitation Services' Vocal Dynamics Laboratory. He also served as Director of Monmouth's cochlear implant program, which was one of only three designated by the state to perform the surgical procedure, which involves placing an electrical device in the inner ear of a profoundly deaf patient to restore hearing. He was a recipient of the Monmouth Medical Center Pinnacle Award in 2000 which recognizes physicians who are leaders and achievers and whose contributions have helped to establish Monmouth Medical Center as one of the foremost community teaching hospitals.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Albert was cherished by all who knew him. His warm smile, kind heart, and gentle demeanor endeared him to patients, colleagues, and friends alike. He was not only a healer but also a friend, confidant, and source of inspiration to many. Albert enjoyed sport fishing, cooking and spending time with family and friends. Through the years he enjoyed dining out with his group of friends Wednesday nights at Villa Eduardo and lunch with “The Boys” every Friday. His presence illuminated every room he entered, leaving an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing him. He leaves behind a legacy of compassion, integrity, and service that will be carried on by those whose lives he touched.
Albert was predeceased by his parents, Anthony and Madeline Rienzo; his wife of 57 years Alia Rienzo and daughter Elsa Walters. He was also predeceased by his sisters Grace Vertino and Marie Barillo and brother Dr. Frank Rienzo. He is survived by his three children: a son and daughter in law, Anthony and Judy Rienzo; two daughters and sons in law Benedetta and Joseph Radic and Carolina and Jason Desiderato; and three grandchildren Alexander and Christian Radic and Rylee Elsa Desiderato. Additionally, numerous friends, colleagues, and patients whose lives he enriched will mourn his passing.
Visitation will be from 4-8 pm on Wednesday, February 14 at the Damiano Funeral Home, 191 Franklin Avenue in Long Branch. Friends can go directly to St. Jerome Church at 254 Wall Street in West Long Branch on Thursday for a 10:30 am Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will follow at Woodbine Cemetery in Oceanport. The family invites you to leave a letter of condolence by selecting the Tribute/Guestbook link above.
Although Albert may no longer walk among us, his spirit will live on in the hearts of all who were fortunate enough to know him. May he rest in eternal peace, his legacy forever cherished and his memory never forgotten.