My brother, Pasquale “Peter” DiBenedetto, spent 47 years with the Englishtown Fire Department. These years were the happiest of his life. The Englishtown Fire Department became his second family. Truth be told, in many instances it was his first family. Helping others was an innate part of Peter’s nature. It’s who he was and why he was loved by so many.
Peter was also the fire department’s chief engineer. Being a certified mechanic, Peter was able to help maintain the fire trucks, cars, and general equipment. And Peter loved cars and trucks! He owned over a hundred vintage cars, trucks, and tractors. A number of them won prizes.
Following the death of his father, Peter assumed the family’s responsibility and their need to continue the farming. On weekends during the growing season, he could always be found selling farm produce. Peppers were a staple crop, which Peter not only sold but enjoyed eating—the hotter the better! This, plus his favorite high school beverage, Dr. Pepper, led to Peter’s nickname, “Pete the Pepper.”
Peter was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and was a lifelong resident of Englishtown. He is survived by his sister, Maddalin DiBenedetto; his uncle, Vito DiBenedetto; aunts, uncles, and cousins in Italy and Denmark; and extended family in Maryland and Florida.
He received many awards and recognitions for his service, including: Firefighter of the Year-20 years (1998-2017), Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office Certificate of Supreme Sacrifice, National Medal of Honor, the State of New Jersey Senate and General Assembly Fallen Firefighter Memorial Award, a State of New Jersey Senate and General Assembly Joint Legislative Resolution, and Englishtown Fire Department recognition and appreciation for 45 years of service.
Peter’s name, Pasquale Peter DiBenedetto, is inscribed with his brethren in remembrance on the New Jersey Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Memorial pavers honor Peter at the New Jersey Fire Museum and at the National Fallen Firefighters Park in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He received letters of recognition from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and President Donald Trump.