Joan Caggiano, Co-founder of Nicola Pizza, Passes Away - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Joan Caggiano, Co-founder of Nicola Pizza, Passes Away

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Joan Caggiano (Photo credit: Special Olympics Delaware) Joan Caggiano (Photo credit: Special Olympics Delaware)
Nicola Pizza, a mainstay in Rehoboth Beach since 1971. (Photo credit: Nicola Pizza) Nicola Pizza, a mainstay in Rehoboth Beach since 1971. (Photo credit: Nicola Pizza)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- Joan Caggiano, co-founder of Nicola Pizza in Rehoboth Beach, died early Friday morning in hospice care following an extended battle with kidney and liver disease. She was 75.

Also known as "Mama Nicola," Joan started Nicola Pizza in 1971 with her husband Nicholas Caggiano Sr. Their son "Nicky" is now the general manager of the restaurant, which has become a food icon in the resort town, now with two locations.

Joan was very involved in fundraisers and various area charities, including Special Olympics Delaware. In 2014 she was named the Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach Citizen of the Year. 

WBOC viewer Mike Bishop, who alerted WBOC to Joan's passing, had only kind words to say about her.

"She was loved by all," he said. "She gave my kid $20 when he got his first holy communion, and she barely knew him. The true queen of Rehoboth Beach has died. She will be missed by all."

Carol Everhart, who is the president and CEO of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, said that over the decades she worked with Joan on various projects and events involving the chamber, such as the Easter Promenade to the annual Sea Witch Festival. 

"She was the community's mom," Everhart said of Joan. "She always had a smile and was happy to see you."

Following news of her passing, tributes to Joan from the community poured in on Nicola Pizza's Facebook page. One example comes from Diane Lisehora Milam of Rehoboth Beach, who wrote, "So very sorry to hear this. Joan never failed to greet me with a smile and genuine conversation in my 40 years of enjoying Nic-o-bolis. Rest in peace, Joan. You are loved and missed."

Joan is survived by her husband, Nick and children, Nick Jr. and Camille. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

  

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