Tropical 5

Andrew Bassista

March 15, 1938 ~ June 16, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old


MIDDLESEX-  Andrew John Bassista, Age 85, passed peacefully to the other side in the early morning hours on June 16th, 2023.  On that day the world lost a devoted husband, caring father and a true craftsman. Andrew or Andy was born on March 15th, 1938, to Anna (Kerchner) and Emil J. Bassista in Keasbey, New Jersey.  Andrew was the oldest of 4 children, all who were boys. He grew up in Lawrence Harbor and Edison, NJ where he developed lifelong vocational skills, mechanical aptitude and most importantly his knowledge, expertise, and passion for cars, motors and racing. After an active and fairly long stint in bachelorhood, he settled down in Middlesex, NJ and married Jean Pastuck from Piscataway, NJ on April 26, 1969. Together they raised 2 sons, Tommy and A.J.  

Andrew actively enjoyed his sons young sporting endeavors and graciously volunteered to keep score at games, helped organize and run concessions and helped store supplies for the many teams and was often found, on the sidelines or mats, taking action shots of his sons. Andy was known as and always referred to by his sons’ friends and coaches as “Mr. B.”
Andy truly worked to live and followed his ultimate passion of racing vigorously. His sanctuary was his garage and “The Farm.”  He mastered the technique of welding, taking apart and building back motors, and excelled at building winning and great looking race cars.  At heart, Andy was a natural born racer, and to be exact, a Jeep Racer. From the early 1970’s and for nearly 5 decades after, he dominated the East Coast 4-Wheel Drive Jeep racing scene. He meticulously altered and professionally enhanced 4-cylinder motors from 1964 Pontiac Tempests’ that precisely nestled in and powered various hand-built jeeps that were most commonly named the “Lil Injun.”  His prized racing possession was a 1969 Opel GT transformed into a fuel injected, 4-Wheel drive, drag racing speedster and the slickest of all his race cars. While he greatly and proudly loved to bring home the trophies he unselfishly mentored and coached both his wife Jean and his oldest son Tommy into occasionally racing alongside of him. He took great pride in being a member of the US Mules Racing Team and was always ready and willing to help anybody in the racing scene solve a problem and make sure their jeep was running for race day.  Andy will most undoubtedly be remembered as the longest participating US Mule and a legend in the East Coast Jeep Racing circuit. He struck fear and a strong sense of competitiveness to those that had to race against him.

Andrew was a caring, big-hearted, stoic, forthright, and no-nonsense father and husband. He often referred to himself as a lover and not a fighter. He was a true admirer of animals and pets.  He was quick with a smile, always had a nice comment, and could easily engage in casual conversation with family, friends, and strangers alike.  He had many friends who admired, respected, and sought out his mechanical abilities and Andy always took time to teach and pass along his knowledge.  Most importantly, he embraced and loved the opportunities to ditch his unwavering passion for Jeep Racing and take his family on vacations with his motorhome.  He filled his wife and kids with memories of beaches, lakes, campfires, amazing food, and long late-night drives listening to Bob Dylan and blasting all of Jimmy Buffet’s hits while crossing the picturesque bridges of the Florida Keys.  Andy unconditionally performed that delicate balance of pursuing his passions, involving his family, and taking time to honor his family’s desires and needs, never forgetting where he came from or where he was going.  He knew his wife was his rock, his light tower and wanted to adamantly ensure his sons looked after her after he departed. He was proud of the independent lives of his sons and always allowed them to pursue their own passions. He loved his wife and kids to the bittersweet end, and he knew exactly when his next journey would begin. Andy always lived within his means, was the ultimate problem solver and knew how to make things and fix things. He is a great example of a true American Craftsman.

Andrew is survived by his wife Jean, his first son Tommy, wife Shannon and their son Dylan, Andrew’s first grandson, and Andrew’s second son A.J., his brother and sister-in-law Edward and Wilma Bassista and sister-in-law Alice Colpetsir.  Also, nieces, Sharon Bauer, Kristen Hendrickson and Lisa Bassista, and nephews, Andy, Michael, Gary, Matthew and Jonathan Bassista, and Stephen Colpetsir.
Andrew was predeceased by his parents, Anna and Emil J., brothers John Bassista and Emil W. Bassista, and sister-in-law Nina Bassista who was married to Emil W and sister-in-law Loretta Spahr.

It is the wishes of the family to join them in the Celebration of Andy's Life on July 15, 2023 to attend a Memorial Mass at 10:00am at Our Lady of Mount Virgin Church located on 600 Harris Avenue, Middlesex, NJ.  

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Cuoco Funeral & Cremation Services funeral home located at 10 West End Avenue, Somerville, NJ (908) 707-2058.  To share a memory or send an online condolence visit


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Andrew Bassista, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Andrew Bassista?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Andrew's memory.


Memorial Mass
July 15, 2023

10:00 AM
Our Lady of Mount Virgin Church
600 Harris Avenue
Middlesex, NJ 08846


© 2023 Somerville Funeral Home, Inc.. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility