Sheepshead Bay lost a giant personality this week with the death of Jacqueline Randazzo Page.
She was 69.
If you ever frequented Randazzo’s, the legendary Sheepshead Bay Clam Bar & Restaurant at 2017 Emmons Avenue, you probably ran across Jacqueline as she graciously greeted guests and dutifully attended to diners.
“She started when she was 20 frying calamari and scungilli,” son Paul Randazzo told this newspaper. “My mother was a worker. She was devoted day and night. She came in to feed the kids and take care of people. She put smiles on people’s faces.”
The roots of the family-owned restaurant stretch all the way back to 1916. In 1959, Jacqueline’s mom, Helen, created the special tomato sauce that would make Randazzo’s more famous than ever before.
Last year, AOL’s City’s Best named Randazzo’s the best seafood restaurant in New York City.
Jacqueline died on August 13, a few days after being admitted to the hospital for what her family thought would be a routine operation.
“Tuesday morning she was fine and dandy - healthy as a bee,” Paul said.
Jacqueline took a break from Randazzo’s back in 1978 to open up a nail salon, but she soon returned to her friends and loyal patrons at the clam bar. She lived in Sheepshead Bay all her life.
“She was the Bay,” Paul said.
Jacqueline was deeply concerned with the community as well, just as her mother had been, and served on the Bay Improvement Group’s board of directors.
The group honored Jacqueline with an “Oscar” in 2001.
“After grandmother Randazzo died, Jackie replaced her,” BIG President Steve Barrison remembered. “Jackie’s mother was generous in supporting BIG from the beginning. When she died, Jackie took over right where she left off.”
Randazzo’s Clam Bar & Restaurant closed for a few days following Jacqueline’s death but reopened earlier this week.
“She’d strike me dead if we closed,” Paul said. “We’re going to keep on going the same as always.”
Jacqueline’s final resting place is at St. John’s Cemetery in Queens.
She is survived by her children, Lisa and Paul, and grandchildren Joseph, Elena, Paulie, Samantha and Tommy.