Remembering Nick Cardi: ‘He was so good to so many people’

Local News

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Whether you’re driving down the highway, or watching TV, it won’t take long for you to see or hear some mention of the Cardi brothers.

Nick, Ron and Pete – always in age order – make up “NI-RO-PE.” As they explain on their website, it was their great aunt who came up with the name, when the brothers needed to name a 10-foot rowboat their parents gave them as kids. Years later, “NI-RO-PE” is now used to describe the shopping experience at Cardi’s.

The furniture giant the brothers have created in Southern New England started with their father’s business decades ago. The trio later expanded their dad’s small shop in Knightsville into the Cardi’s stores Southern New Englanders have shopped at for years.

On Friday, the Cardi family suffered a huge loss, when Nick lost his years-long battle with brain cancer. Nick was the eldest of the three brothers. 

Father Robert Marciano, one of Nick’s good friends, said he saw him a couple of weeks ago when he anointed him the sacrament of the sick.

“This was a tough disease he had for many years,” Marciano said. “But he was relentless in his fight to live.”

(From left to right: Nick, Ron and Pete Cardi)

“The last few weeks were a grace that people could actually visit with him and say their goodbyes,” Marciano added.

There are many goodbyes to say when you impact as many lives as Nick Cardi had in his 71 years of life.

With his brothers, Nick used his success to pay it forward. The Cardi’s gave back to countless organizations in the area, including the Ronald McDonald House, AIDS Project RI, Alzheimer’s Association, and Meeting Street.

“Nick attended every event we had,” Director of Development at Meeting Street Bernadine Sadwin said. “Whether it be Halloween, reading to our children, our all-state event at the Coast Guard House and, of course, the telethon.”

Sadwin said Nick was a pillar of Meeting Street – and a good friend to its students.

“They [the kids] love when they [the Cardi brothers] come in because they recognize them on TV. They’ll run right up without hesitancy and give them a hug,” Sadwin said.

Even in the years after his diagnosis, Nick continued to participate in the philanthropic work he and his brothers were so passionate about.

“He never lost touch with the ordinary folks like us. That was the magic of Nick Cardi,” Marciano added.

Even in the years after his diagnosis, Nick continued to participate in the philanthropic work he and his brothers were so passionate about.

“There are those of us who preach Gospel and those of us who live the Gospel,” Marciano said. “Nick did. He was so good to so many people.”

Nick’s funeral mass will be held Aug. 10 at Saint Mark Church in Cranston.

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