Marco Borghese might have been a prince in his native Italy, but those who knew him here remembered him as a man with an approachability that belied his noble roots.
“He never needed the spotlight,” his son Fernando told a crowd of mourners at Our Lady Of Ostrabrama Church in Cutchogue. “He was always more concerned about everybody else around him.”
Marco and his wife Ann Marie, the owners of Castello di Borghese Vineyard & Winery in Cutchogue, were remembered in a memorial service on Saturday afternoon. A “celebration of life” concert followed at the Main Road winery. Hugh Prestwood of Greenport and Nashville songwriter Even Stevens performed.
Ann Marie, 56, died on June 20 following a long battle with cancer. Marco died 10 days later in an auto accident in Wading River at the age of 70.
The pair, who married in 1985, bought Long Island’s first commercial vineyard from the Hargrave family in 1999.
Speakers at the memorial mass remembered Ann Marie as a community advocate and someone who worked hard for local charities, particularly Our Lady of Mercy Regional School in Cutchogue.
A friend recalled how Ann Marie would make someone feel like they knew her for years after first meeting her.
“When she walked into a room, it lit up,” said Beverly Fortune, a friend who first met Ann Marie while interviewing her for the Long Island Press. Fortune was writing a series of columns about women on Long Island who were doing extraordinary things.
Monsignor Joseph Staudt said Marco insisted on called him Monsignor, rather than father, since it was a title he felt the priest had earned.
“[He was] a man of few, but very powerful words. He was able to communicate a lot with just a look or a gesture,” Msgr. Staudt said. “He loved working and living off the land. He was a warm, approachable man.”