Ho-Ho-Kus Flowers was closed Wednesday as family, friends and nearly everyone in this close-knit New Jersey town mourned the sudden death of its owner.
Friends of Glen Carullo, who owned the florist shop with his wife, said it wasn’t a surprise the 60-year-old died saving someone’s life.
“His character, he would probably look out for someone like that,” said Janet Garbaccio, of Garbo’s Italian Deli. “That’s the kind of person — he’s just very — seeing somebody in trouble, to help.”
Police say Carullo was one of three swimmers who died in the waters off the Jersey Shore this weekend.
He was at Point Pleasant Beach on Sunday afternoon when he spotted a woman in distress.
Authorities had warned people to avoid the ocean due to dangerous rip currents caused by Hurricane Maria. Despite the danger, Carullo jumped in to save the woman, according to a funeral announcement.
The woman managed to get out of the water, but Carullo was overcome and did not survive.
“Everybody miss him. He is so wonderful to me,” said Julie Suh, fighting back tears. “Everybody — the whole town.”
Most, if not all, of the local business owners on Sheridan Avenue knew Carullo; many said they have known and loved him for more than 30 years. His death has left them shaken, but there’s no doubt in their minds he died a hero.
“He was a beautiful man,” Garbaccio said. “We’ve been in here for almost 30 years. He’s there 35. Just a funny, wonderful, sweet man.”
Friends of Carullo said he and his wife were planning to retire and close up the florist shop this year. Now his family is arranging flowers for his funeral.