Ed Note: The passing of local businessman Wayne Capone, Jan. 26, shocked many in the West Haven Community. His friend Mark Palmieri remembers his lifelong friend in this tribute.
By Mark Palmieri
The sudden passing of businessman Wayne Capone shocked not only his many family, friends, associates, and patrons, but the community at large that knew and respected him.
Capone was best known as the owner and operator of Stowes Seafood at 341 Beach St. The Stowe’s name was a legendary one in a city that had many fine restaurants. Originally at Bayview Place, opened by his grandfather in the Roaring 20s, it was a mainstay business for decades. Capone grew up learning the business from his grandfather and uncles.
In 1977, Wayne and his wife Karen married and decided to travel the USA in their station wagon with their basset hound Amber in search for a new beginning. After traveling for a few months, they realized the only place that made the grade was their hometown in West Haven. They returned and decided to carry on the family business, opening Stowe’s in 1982, and carried on the storied tradition.
West Haven was and always will be the couple’s home with Wayne’s legendary football days, including the miraculous interception from the defensive lineman and touchdown against the Notre Dame Knights, which led to the 1972 state championship and classic West Haven lore.
Wayne played a major role in starting the city’s lacrosse team along with his good friends. Wayne always joked that his reason for starting lacrosse was to “run around and hit people with a stick,” but Don’t let this fool you; he will always be remembered for his kind and loving spirit.
Capone kept up his childhood friendships with The “Park Street Crew” with many nights spent reminiscing with them. One of Wayne’s favorite things was retelling stories about growing up in the Morse Park area with his lifelong friends.
To Wayne, everyone was family. Most importantly, his three children, Sarah Capone, Ashley Capone, and Zach Capone were his world along with his three grandchildren, Lily, Ella, and Ian. His greatest joy in life was being a husband, a father, and a poppy.
Wayne often referred to his Stowe’s crew, John Biondi, Travis McCarter, and Chris O’Brien as his sons. The Stowe’s family is so special with over 42 years of memories. Every guest who walks through the door can simply feel how extraordinary this family is and will be forever.
Wayne had big hopes for West Haven, always dreaming of the city becoming a restaurant hub. Wayne loved frequenting West Haven businesses and supporting the town in any way possible. From endless donations to mentoring West Haven restaurant owners, Wayne loved being around Westies and did everything possible for the people he loved.
Wayne and his soulmate Karen loved traveling, not only throughout the United States, but through Europe as well, backpacking for their honeymoon. Over the years, Wayne and Karen fell in love with cruising through the Caribbean. Their adventures are showcased beautifully in the treasure trove of knick-knacks covering the walls of Stowe’s, collected in the 20-plus years of cruising.
“It was his sense of humor, the way he just loved this place and everything about it, and it showed in everything he did: from the food being the freshest and the best he could find to the customers, who just come here to see him and have some seafood, to our crew, who is beyond the best. You look around and see pieces of his life in every inch of this place,” his wife, Karen Capone recounts.”He grew up here. Our roots are here. We love this city, we love the people in this city, and our customers are like family to us. Home is home. Our family and our heart are here in this little building.”
Wayne was welcomed into paradise on Jan. 26, met by his lifelong friend, Dave Cappetta, Mom, Janet Capone, Dad, Anthony Capone, and his uncle, Pete Capone.
Everyday he was quoted saying “just another day in paradise.” “It is what it is,” and our favorite “I am what I am.” He ended every night at the end of the day simply saying “arrivederci.”
Wayne impacted everyone he ever met and will be deeply missed by his crew, family, and friends.