FRANKLIN PARK: Affectionately yours: Town mourns eatery owner

By Ed Birch, Special Writer
   Joe Gondek, 70, owner and operator of “Confectionately Yours” in the Franklin Park Shopping Center on Route 27 passed away on Jan. 22, surrounded by his family at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, according to the family.
Known by all as “The Candy Man” and “the Sweetest Guy in Town,” Mr. Gondek acted as the owner, host, and comedian at the chocolate and ice cream featured eatery at locations in town for the past 32 years.
   Every customer were always referred to as “family and friends” by Mr. Gondek and his family with every visit to the restaurant/ice cream parlor, family members said.
   Mr. Gondek is survived by his wife of 47 years ,Mary, daughters, Stacey, Janeen, Carrey (husband John Cossentino), Jessica, and sons Joseph (wife Amy) and Quinn. In addition, there are grandchildren Megan, Joseph III, and Mackenzie.
   Wife Mary Gondek said that the couple had met when Joe was at a party and introduced to her by her brother-in-law.
   ”It was simply love at first sight,” she said. “We got married within six months of our introduction.”
   ”We opened our first store in Sayreville some 32 years ago. We called the venture “Cake and Candy Creations” and used it as a teaching store,” she said.
   The family moved the operation to a bigger location on Route 27 in 1981, later moving to another facility, double the space along Route 27.
   Finally moving to their present site in October 2009.
   The name for the present business was a brainstorm from a salutation that Joe had read, family members’ said.
   ”Everybody misses our dad. He simply made every person who walked through our doors feel like they were at home” said daughters Stacey and Jessica Gondek. “He was the driving force behind our family business and always looked for the good in everyone.”
   ”He was the mayor in this community. Not everyone gets to work in a profession and call it home” said Stacey. “He is still here, all over our business” repeated the family numerous times.
   Mary praised the courage of her late husband as he dealt with severe health issues during recent months.
   ”He went through 14 surgeries in a seven month period,” she said. “(He was) up until almost the very end, he came into the shop, walked around, talked to everyone and kidded with all the customers. He came home on Aug. 8, 2013 and was still very active until a tragic fall on Dec. 28. Three weeks later, we lost Joe.”
   Family members said he was an avid fisherman and hunter in whatever spare time he could find. His favorite ice cream flavor was cherry vanilla and his favorite dinner was fried flounder.
   His wake and funeral drew upwards of 1,000 mourners, according to the family.
   Friends gracefully joked at a five-and-a-half-foot floral display in the form of an ice cream cone.
   According to Stacey, “this was a true sendoff to my dad.”