John V. Vantuno

West Orange Attorney

Believed Family Came First

John V. Vantuno Esq., 83, passed peacefully on the morning of Thursday, April 27, 2017 at Inglemoor Care Center in Livingston.

Family and friends are invited to a visitation at the Codey & Jones Funeral Home, 54 Roseland Avenue, Caldwell NJ 07006 on Monday, May 1st, 2017 from 4 – 8 pm. A Service of Resurrection and Remembrance will be held at the First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, 326 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell on Tuesday, May 2nd at 11:00 am. The interment will follow at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Caldwell. To extend condolences or share a memory, please visit

Born and raised in Newark, NJ, he was the son of Dominick and Katherine (Farina) Vantuno. John graduated from Barringer High School, Newark, where he was a three sport letterman in football, basketball and track. At Barringer he was a team member of the 1950 Championship Football Team, and in track he won 1st place his Junior and Senior years in the 220 low hurdles in the Newark City Championships.

After graduation from high school he attended Rutgers in Newark, and then he proudly served in the US Army stationed in France.

When John returned, he graduated from Upsala College in East Orange in 1958 and from Seton Hall Law School in 1970. While in law school he taught English and Reading at West Kinney Jr. High in Newark.

After earning his JD he was a law clerk for Essex County Assignment Judge James Giuliano. He worked as an Assistant Prosecutor first in Essex County, then in Morris County. His career spanned many years as a criminal defense attorney, with offices in several Essex County locations. He retired recently in 2015 from his practice in West Orange.

In his career he defended one of 20 defendants in a "family business" in federal court for a landmark 21-month trial where all were acquitted, which is the subject of the book The Boys from New Jersey, by Robert Rudolph.

While his greatest joy came from spending time with his family, he also had a passion for art. He was a self-taught artist with a great talent for sketching and oil painting.

Surviving are his beloved wife of 49 years, Diane E. (nee deKirby); devoted children, John R. and his wife, Veronica; Nicole E. Wagner and her husband, R. Stephen; and Gina E. Vantuno; a loving brother, Richard Vantuno and his wife, Carmela; and sister, Anita Vitali and her husband, Ubaldo; cherished grandchildren Leo, Calvin and Kyle Wagner, Brian Monahan and Tessa Vantuno; and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations in John's memory to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 1250 Fourth St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 or The West Orange Scholarship Fund / John & Diane Vantuno Family Scholarship c/o Jim Quinn, 23 White Place, West Orange, NJ 07052, would be deeply appreciated.