Paul Francis Gaeta, longtime islander and prominent restaurateur known for his many successful business ventures, died peacefully at Hope Hospice on April 14, 2013. He was 77.
Born on September 7, 1935, in Boston, Mass., he was the son of Sebastian and Concetta (DiFronzo) Gaeta. After receiving his Masters degree from Boston University, Paul embarked on a successful 20-year career with Hilton Hotels, becoming the corporation's youngest general manager at the age of 28. Paul's natural ability and business acumen lead him to continue on an illustrious career that included developing and managing several hotel properties around the country.
He settled on his beloved Sanibel Island in 1979, where as managing partner and CEO of Sanibel Island Restaurant Group, he became known for his string of successful operations that include the Jacaranda, Iggy & Paul's, Tarwinkles, Mc T's Shrimp House & Tavern, and The Sanibel Steak House, eventually opening four Steak House locations in Southwest Florida.
Paul Francis Gaeta
An avid and accomplished golfer, Paul was a longtime member of The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, where he shot four of his lifetime achievement of nine holes-in-one, and fostered many cherished friendships.
Paul was a gifted conversationalist, passionate and engaged in history, politics, sports, world travel, cooking and the creative arts, and inspired his family in his passions. Paul treasured most his time spent with family, his home always filled with laughter, great conversation, and large family dinners.
A mentor and role model to friends, employees and above all family, Paul leaves behind to cherish his memory the love of his life and wife of 25 years Margareta Gaeta, children Lee Ellen (Patrick) Harder, Sylvana (Kevin) Fishburn, Sebastian (Narmeen) Gaeta, Christopher Gaeta, Christopher Magnusson, and Kim Ciresi. Grandchildren Jocelyn Harder, Emmalee and Grant Fishburn, Isabella and Gabrielle Gaeta, Justin, Zach, Amanda and Paul Gaeta, Josefina and Angelina Magnusson, Austin and Alyssa Ciresi. Great-grandchildren Brianna, Skylar, and Shane. Three sisters Agnes Libertine, Ella Hall, Carol Palumbo, and one brother Anthony Gaeta. He also will be deeply missed by several nieces, nephews, a large extended family and many friends.
The family extends heartfelt thanks to the staff at Hope Hospice of Fort Myers for their loving care of Paul.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, at 11 a.m. at St Isabel Catholic Church, 3559 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL. Reception immediately following at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to Hope Hospice of SW Florida, 9470 Healthpark Circle, Fort Myers, FL, 33908.
Friends may sign the guest book at www.Kiserfh.com.