Farewell to Industry Giant Nick Paolella [photos]

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Dominic (Nick) Paolella
29 APRIL 1935 – 17 FEBRUARY 2022

Dominic (Nick) Paolella, a founder of Jon-Don and one of the most beloved people in the cleaning and restoration industry, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Thursday, February 17, after a battle with COVID-19 and double pneumonia. He was 86 years young.

See a slideshow of pictures of Paolella here, or read on below:

Born on April 29, 1935, to the late Rose (nee Belcaster) and Angelo Paolella. He was proceeded in death by his sister Diana (Richard) Johnson and grandson Blake Carlson.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Judi (nee Lininger), and six children, Julie Herne, Jill Carlson, Angela (Nate) Buege, Alyssa (Kevin) Kwiatkowski, Nikki Paolella, and AJ Paolella.

He is a cherished grandfather to Grant, Johnny, Olivia (Vince) Kelly, Chloe, and Dominique and a proud great-grandfather to Eleanor, Lincoln, Meadow, and his namesake, Dominic.

Nick Paolella didn’t have just a few friends; he had thousands of them. If you ever attended a trade show or event or visited a Jon-Don, especially during a customer appreciation day, he was there to meet you, greet you, and most likely feed you as well. He was an expert at the grill and all things related to hospitality. He received the Ralph Bloss Humanitarian Award in 2017 in recognition of his kindness, which is known throughout the industry.


For those who knew and loved Nick, you heard him say these words and understand what they meant to him and to those he called his friends:

  • Word hard, play hard: balance.
  • People will want to do for your company because of how they feel about being a part of it: company culture.
  • Make sure you ring the bell in the morning: responsibility.
  • A presentation without a demonstration is simply a conversation:work ethics.
  • Don’t be afraid to say, “I love you”: appreciation for others.
  • Service to the customer is above all else: purpose.
  • A handshake is more powerful than a signature: integrity.

One of the last things Nick said, according to those close to him, was, “I’m going to miss one [expletive] party!” If there is one thing everyone who knew him would agree on, it’s that Nick wants you to enjoy each and every party coming your way. He will be there with you in spirit.

Nick Paolella, rest in peace.

Jeff Cross

Jeff Cross is the ISSA media director, with publications that include Cleaning & Maintenance Management, ISSA Today, and Cleanfax magazines. He is the previous owner of a successful cleaning and restoration firm. He also works as a trainer and consultant for business owners, managers, and front-line technicians. He can be reached at [email protected].

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