Remembering Mike Giandrea

Monday morning my mom called me at the school and told me that a childhood friend passed away. His name was Michael Giandrea. I met him in third grade, and were close until our early twenty’s when we both went in different directions (He went to vegas, I started traveling to Martial Arts Tournaments. We both drove our parents crazy, especially during our teen years. Our parents were the ones who always drove us to the movies, and had everyone over our houses for dinner. Mike was the assistant casino manager of a major casino in Las Vegas. While driving home from work, a drunk driver was on the opposite side of the road and killed him instantly.

It was shocking to hear this tragic story and I would like to send my condolences to his family. If you knew Mike please send me an email. I would like to make a section on my blog in remembrance of him. He was my first friend when I moved from South Philadelphia to New Jersey. I grew up with him, and considered him one of my best friends. I’m going to miss you Mike, but I will always m all the fun times we shared together. You were always the center of attention, and I will never forget when you came to my window to borrow a pair of “Z Cavarrici” pants I had because my mom would flip out if she new I would let you or Bob borrow my clothes.

I remember playing whiffle ball with you, Doug Smith, Bob Kahler, Ryan Landers, at your house like every day. I remember eating bagels and Ice Tea every morning in the summer at your house. I remember watching all the Mike Tyson Fights at my house or yours. I remember when we would get in fights for hanging around each other too much. I remember you dad always driving us to the movie. I remember me, you , Bob, Shivers, and a whole bunch of girls listening to “Mill Vanilli” all night in my basement, one of the best nights ever.

I remember the night Scott Landers, and Dave Taylor saved us from the “Deptoford Township Posse” and by the way. you started it. LOL….. But that was a crazy night. I remember the night when the “Fam” came to your house and was looking for you. Man, we shared so many times together. But I so Happy to talk to your Dad today and hear that you were doing so well with your life. He was so proud of you, I am so proud of what you did with your life. There were hundreds of people and old friends today in remembrance of you.

Nick Dougherty



8 Responses to Remembering Mike Giandrea

  1. s.s. says:

    Let me first start by saying I am truly sorry for your loss. I am very good friends with James the man who was driving the other vehicle. I can say first hand that even though he doesn’t understand what happened just yet, he is truly regretful of the situation. I am positive that he would have givin his own life to save Michael’s. I know that it probably won’t ease the heartache, but our prayers are with all who are effected by this. Eventhough James may survive, we too have in a sense lost him. James is a good person who made a devestating decision, and I sorry for his mistake. I know that you have a lot to go through, but I would appriciate it greatly if you would relay my condolences to his family, and friends. If you would like to reply, my email is

  2. Nicole says:

    Sensei Nick-
    I always appreciate your blogs…however, this one has touched me the most. The fact that you care so much to share not only your wisdom but now the painful loss of a dear friend, says a lot about your character. I admire that most!
    This is the second time in two years that I have heard of a similar situation that effected people around me. I too knew someone involved in a drunk driving accident but opposite side of the spectrum. I was the coach to this mans son and he knew high school friends of mine. The nicest guy…nicest family…BUT one bad decision and terrible judgement call changed so many lives. The impact and devestation it has on so many people goes beyond words!
    Well, bottom line and most important is that we can all learn from others mistakes and prevent them from happening again! So “THANK YOU” for the awareness and reminder! It is time like this that hit real close to home!
    Our deepest sympathy,
    Nicole & The Johnson Family

  3. Keith says:

    Very nice words, I think Mike would have appreciated the nice things you said about him. I did not know him as well as you, but I did hang out with him on a few occasions and he seemed like a nice guy. It is very respectful and thoughtful the kind things you said, I believe he thought alot of you as well. Sometimes people drift apart or seem to go separate ways for no reason other than different oppurtunities arise. Im sure he thought about all those same great times as you did here today. You are very charismatic and honorable which always shines through your words and your actions. I am very sorry for your loss my brother.

  4. Beth Racobaldo (Randazzo) says:

    I still cannot believe the loss of our childhood friend. A friend called to tell me on Monday, too, and I thought it had to be some kind of mistake. Sadly, it wasn’t. I lost touch with Mike years ago, but still thought of him fondly. It seems like just yesterday we were hanging out in your court or playing pool at Lori’s house or just chillin at Mike’s house. The world lost a great person. Thanks for putting this blog together. Just so you know, there is also a legacy guestbook at that you can sign in rememberance of Mike.

  5. Amy Fasulo says:

    Hi Nick,

    I just found out about Mike and I am completely and utterly stunned and mortified of his untimely and unfortunate passing. I went to St Jude’s w/him as well. I remember him w/ full of laughter always smiling. He was such a kind and caring man. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. I think he truly was a genuine person. I think of him often even though I have not seen him since graduation all those years ago. I guess he left a huge impact on me when we were kids. Here is a poem I’d like to post in rememberance of MIKE.

    To my dearest family, some things I’d like to say…
    but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
    I’m writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.
    Here, there’s no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

    Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight.
    Remember that I’m with you every morning, noon and night.
    That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
    God picked me up and hugged me and He said, “I welcome you.”

    It’s good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
    As for your dearest family, they’ll be here later on.
    I need you here badly; you’re part of my plan.
    There’s so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.”

    God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
    And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
    And when you lie in bed at night, the day’s chores put to flight.
    God and I are closest to you….in the middle of the night.

    When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
    because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
    But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
    Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

    I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
    But if I were to tell you, you wouldn’t understand.
    But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o’er.
    I’m closer to you now, than I ever was before.

    There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
    but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
    It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too…
    that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

    If you can help somebody who’s in sorrow and pain,
    then you can say to God at night……”My day was not in vain.”
    And now I am contented….that my life has been worthwhile,
    knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

    So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
    just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
    When you’re walking down the street, and you’ve got me on your mind;
    I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

    And when it’s time for you to go…. from that body to be free,
    remember you’re not going…’re coming here to me.

    Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
    ©Copyright 1998-2008

  6. Dina Nardotti says:

    Hi Nick,
    The story that you told is so beautiful. I am sure that Michael is laughing from up above. I love the fact that you honor him in your blog and hope that he is enjoying the Phillies winning the World Series!! I hope that someday we will all be able to meet Michael again!

  7. Barb says:

    I am the mother of the man who was resonsible for Michael’s death. My family remembers Michael every single day and will never ever forget this man that we didn’t even know. My son was not a bad man but rather a man who made a horrible choice that not only was reponsible for taking Michael’s life away but for also changing Jim’s as well. Even though this may sound selfish because Jim is still alive – I have in some ways lost my son as well, lost the son that I knew so well because his conscience will never allow him to be the same – some may say that’s a small price to pay for what he did and that may be true but he really isn’t the monster that he seems. I would just like to say I’m so sorry to all of Michael’s family and friends and my family prays and remembers him every single day.

  8. Mike says:

    It’s Sunday January 14 2012 and I’m laying here thinking about my buddy mike. We worked together at the Stratosphere. I remember how he always cared about everyone he worked with and never had a bad bone in his body. We were both Philly fans and talked about are Philly teams all day. I remember he always said bye before he left and a hour later he was still at work running around. The day he got in that accident he said bye and I remember thinking he’ll still be here when I get off. But that wasn’t the case he actually got out early and the next day I thought to myself the one day I wish he could have stayed. Anyways I know he’s in a better place and wanted to let you know I still think about my buddy years later.

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