Michael Gatto, who started Gatto's Tires and Auto Service in Melbourne, Fla., in 1970, died on Feb. 11, 2019. He was 93.
Gatto was born in New Orleans on Oct. 14, 1925, to Nuncy and Mamie Gatto. After graduating from high school during World War II, he joined the Marine Corps and spent three years serving in the Pacific. His service included fighting in the Battle of Okinawa.
After the war, he enrolled in Louisiana State University, where he completed his education and then went to work for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. He spent 22 years with Goodyear, rising to the position of sales and marketing manager for the Kelly Springfield Tire Co.
His entrepreneurial spirit led to Gatto's Tires and Auto Service, a seven-store chain based in Brevard County, Fla. Gatto's daughter Pam Gatto Gallo is president of the company. His grandsons Mike and Scott McHenry and grandson-in-law, Mike Nevin, also work at Gatto's Tires and Auto Service, making it a three-generation family company.
Gatto has participated in and led many civic and not-for-profit organizations in the county, serving as president of the Eau Gallie Rotary Club; vice mayor of the city of Melbourne; president of the Chamber of Commerce; chairman of the Melbourne Airport Authority; chairman of Health First; commodore of the Eau Gallie Yacht Club; and founding member and president of the Spacecoast Tiger Bay Club.
In 2000, he was honored by the Junior Achievement of East Central Florida and inducted into the Business Hall of Fame.
Gatto is survived by his wife, Carole; his son, Ed Gatto (Kellie); daughters Pam Gatto (John Gallo) and Mimi Hammond (Greg); and step-son Brett Dowden (Summer). He is also survived by his grandchildren Mike McHenry (Beverly), Scott McHenry, Alli Nevin (Mike) Eddie Gatto, Katti Gatto, and Kristina Herndon (Marc). He has eight great grandchildren: Abby, Olivia, Trip, Mason, and Piper McHenry; Julia and Justin Nevin; and Sofie Herndon.
Calling hours will be held Friday, Feb. 15, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Brownlie-Maxwell Funeral Home. A Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 16t, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. For more information, visit www.brownliemaxwell.com.
For more information on Mike Gatto's life, check out this story by Florida Today.