Beloved teacher and friend, Angelo R. Costa, passed away on October 27 at his home in Franconia, NH. Angelo was famous for his +20-year Outdoor Education and Outdoor Club programs in South Brunswick, NJ. Hundreds of students consider their participation in these programs to be an inspiration for their life accomplishments. Angelo’s creed was: “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
Born in Saint Croce Camerina, Sicily, Italy to Guissepe and Gaetana Costa, Angelo spent most of his childhood in Rome during World War II. After the war, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in West New York, NJ.
He was an active member of Salvation Army Church in Italy and the U.S.; in the Church he learned to cherish his relationship with God, play the trumpet, and conduct music. His dedication to God and music was enriched at his beloved music camp, Star Lake in NJ; he was a camper and dedicated counselor for many years.
Shortly after graduation from Memorial High School, Angelo joined the Army, and was assigned to basic training with the Airborne division in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. After basic training, he was posted to the First Army Band on Governor’s Island in New York Harbor and eventually assigned to study French horn at the Naval School of Music in Washington, D.C.
Following his three year stint in the Army, Angelo enrolled in Montclair State College and received a B.A. in English while minoring in Music and Education, then earning a Master’s degree in Geography.
His profession led him to South Brunswick Township, NJ, where he taught numerous courses, ranging from Physical and Cultural Geography, to Earth Science, Social Studies, Music and eventually Outdoor Education. While teaching at South Brunswick, he was also an instructor of teacher education courses at Keen State College in NJ.
His unique and famous Outdoor Education program took students on educational adventures throughout the northeast U.S.. Students were encouraged to challenge themselves physically, socially, and mentally, while learning biology, geography and physics in real-word settings. Angelo, with the help of his older students, built nature trails and ran a summer program for special needs students. He also found time to take students on exciting adventures in West Virginia and white water rafting in the Rocky Mountains.
Upon retirement from full time teaching, Angelo worked as a naturalist at Caddis Island State Park in Toms River, NJ. Eventually, he moved to NH and briefly taught at the Warren Village School.
His retirement was actually very active; he climbed all 48 of NH’s 4000 foot mountains, boated and camped all around New England and the Adirondacks, and traveled around the U.S.. Community service was a big part in his life: officer of the Franconia Area Heritage Council, deliverer of Meals-on-Wheels, Lafayette Lions Club Member, Supervisor of the Checklist, Volunteer at the Rocks Estate, and Member of the Whitefield American Legion Post, often playing “Taps” at military funerals.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Bernardette Gallagher Costa of Franconia, NH, his daughter Corinne Beyer (Chris), grandchildren Nicholas and Marissa of Pennington, his sister Letizia (Tish) Costa of West Palm Beach, FL, his sister Lola Esnard (Richard) of Piermont, NY, numerous in-laws in NY and NJ; also many dear cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and former students.
A celebration of his life will take place in late spring of 2022. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salvation Army, Veterans2Veterans (P.O. Box 1003, Littleton, NH), or the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.