The Memorial Garden is a serene area located behind the Thomas A. Barrett and Julie A. Tatti Activity Center at 1 Catholic Charities Way, Oak Ridge. The garden was built in 2011 after a weather-related collapse of our All-Purpose Room. There are over 200 engraved bricks and furnishings purchased by DPD benefactors that sit within this area.
At the center of the garden there is a prayer fountain donated by the Smitheman Family and Julie and Lou Tatti. 4 siblings; Craig, Denise, Donald and Gary Smitheman all at one time called DPD "home." The patriarch of the Family, Mr. Don Smitheman, made a contribution for the fountain in memory of the Smitheman Family "here and gone." Julie and Lou Tatti were "original" DPD staff members and have been part of the DPD Family for 50 years. Julie was Executive Director of DPD from 2010-2012. Lou was the first Director of Murray House, which is currently the longest running group home for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state of New Jersey.
To the left of the Garden, there is a statue of an archangel, looking down upon engraved bricks of DPD residents who have passed away. This statue was dedicated in memory of Judith Ann Fatigati in 2016. "Judy" was employed at Myron Manufacturing Company.. She worked as a Production Associate from 1977-2002 and was rewarded with the "Quarter Century" award for her performance and longevity. Judy was a devout Catholic and communicant of Ascension Parish. Sustained by the unceasing support of her family, the loving environment created by her friends, co-workers, health care providers, and through her own sense of self-direction, she was able to live her life to its fullest measure.
To the right of the garden stands a statue of the Venerable Michael J. McGivney. Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus at a local parish to serve as a mutual aid and fraternal insurance organization, particularly for immigrants and their families. It developed through the 20th century as the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization. The Knights of Columbus have been DPD’s most dedicated supporters throughout our 50 years history. Around Father McGivney’s statue sit engraved bricks in memory of fallen Knights.
In 2015, DPD Celebrated our 50th Anniversary and on October 15, 2016 our 50th Anniversary Time Capsule was placed in memory of Gertrude DeFranco. Mrs. DeFranco was a long-time supporter of DPD and a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. There is a memento from each of DPD’s programs within the capsule. The time capsule is to be uncovered at our centennial on March 5, 2065.
DPD's Memorial Garden
1 Catholic Charities Way
Oak Ridge, NJ 07438
(Located behind DPD’s Activity Center) To purchase an engraved brick in honor or in memory of a loved one contact:
DPD Development Office
or visit: www.dpd.org/brick