WALDWICK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A loving husband, father, and brother, 60-year-old Glen Carullo barely knew a stranger with his notorious smile, humor and generosity.
"He just had a heart of gold and he just was always fun," recalled Lisa Karlsen, who has been neighbors with the Carullo family for 18 years. "He would do anything for anybody."
The longtime Waldwick resident was down the shore at Point Pleasant Beach Sunday when a woman reportedly began struggling in the water and he immediately jumped in.
The woman he went to save made it back to shore but Carullo disappeared from the surface and was later pulled unconscious from the water by police, beach security and bystanders. He was rushed to Ocean Medical Center but there was nothing doctors there could do.
"He died helping someone and that just shows the kind of guy he is," Karlsen said.
"He wouldn't stand there and see someone be hurt or drown and not try to lift a finger up, it wasn't him," said Betty Gregory, another longtime neighbor. "I just feel so sad for the family and it's heartbreaking to me because I knew what kind of person he was and his family will be just devastated."
Still lost in an ebb and flow of emotions, Ernest Garbaccio fondly recalled his friendship with Carullo, spanning almost 30 years.
"We used to come to work early and of course me and him were the first ones around and that was his chair over there," Garbaccio recalled.
With his deli just a few short feet away from Carullo's floral shop on Sheridan Avenue, he says the two shared countless memories.
"We're solving the problems of the world here and we're joking and having a good time," he said with a smile. "Everybody knew Glen. He had his opinions and he was a character and a lovable guy. He looked like a tough guy but he wasn't."
Affectionately known as the informal Mayor of Ho-Ho-Kus, the current sitting mayor Thomas Randall released a statement Wednesday saying, "Glen was a loved respected member of our community, who touched the lives of many residents and colleagues in our town. We are saddened by his loss and his presence will be greatly missed."