Last week time stood still as news that lifelong Virginia Gardens resident, Marco Florio, (38) died unexpectedly while on a trip to Daytona Beach for Bike Week. Florio who loved motorcycles, traveled to Daytona to enjoy the festivities and to celebrate his upcoming birthday. On the morning of Sunday, March 16th, Florio’s body was discovered and it was later determined that he died peacefully in his sleep.
Marco leaves behind many people that loved him dearly; his mother Olinda Florio, older brother Jose, younger brother Steve and younger sister Triana, along with a nephew and niece that truly adored him, many relatives and many life-long friends.
Services were held at Bernardo Garcia funeral home on Bird Road on March 20, followed by a morning mass at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church and burial at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Doral the next day. Hundreds of people, transcending a multitude of generations, ethnicities, and walks of life, came out to pay their respects, to honor their friend, and to support a grieving family.
The mood was somber as it is when any young person dies too soon. Yet a brotherhood and camaraderie, and great love filled the air as everyone who attended shared at least one thing in common; they shared a love for the unique, one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, and one-and-only, Marco Florio.
“Marco, his mom tells me, was a good man,” said Father Alfaro of Blessed Trinity, as he addressed the overflowing church. “He was a man who loved bringing people together. His mother tells me that he used to love to roast pig, he loved to go fishing, and he loved to bring everyone together; and here he is, one more time bringing all of you together to pray for him.”
Florio grew up in the 80’s and the streets of Virginia Gardens and Miami Springs were his playground. He attended Miami Springs Middle School and Miami Springs Senior High School. As a child and a teenager, he was a soccer enthusiast and was known for his mischievous ways, to say the least.
Through-out his life Florio had a tough guy exterior, yet his smile and multitude of friends tell a different story. Both are a clear indicator of the man that was on the inside; a kindhearted man, a man of honor, and a man with a heart of gold.
Most people may not think of Marco Florio as a businessman, however he certainly was. Florio started National Credit Consultants many years ago, and chose to establish the company in his hometown of Virginia Gardens. Over the years, with Florio’s leadership and hard work, the company flourished. Boys that once played soccer with Marco would eventually become his employees. NCC became more than a business, they were family and Marco was the head of the house and sometimes, many times, the tough big brother who always loved his family.
“I met Marco in Junior High and we've been friends ever since,” said Jacki Reyes Hull, a friend for over 25 years and also a business colleague in the early years of his credit counseling business. “He was a one-of-a-kind, genuine friend--someone you could always count on to lend a hand or be the grill master at your party. Losing him is like losing a part of all of us."
Florio invested in our community by investing in the lives of so many others. The last month of his life, Florio donated his evenings, and his pick-up truck, to assist Carl Bithorn, in transporting toilets all across town in the “flushing out cancer” Relay For Life fundraiser. He was an unsung hero on countless occasions; a humble person who never needed recognition for his acts of kindness; from bringing food to elderly neighbors to extending a hand to a brother in need.
“I lost a close and dear friend; my best and closest friend. We have known each other since the 2nd grade,” said Rick Ramos. “We have stuck together through thick and thin. Marco rose to become a great man who had so much love for his family and friends. I will forever miss him and he will forever hold a special place in my life and in my heart.”
While Florio was always there for a friend in need, it was family first for Marco and everyone knew it. Although he never married or had children, he did have two loves of his life; his nephew Nathan (11) and his niece Katie Bella (4). Spending time watching Nathan play basketball and protecting little Katie Bella were his favorite things to do.
This week would have been Marco Florio’s 39th birthday. His life here on earth ended unexpectedly and while he’s not here to blow out the candles, his family and his friends, will most definitely celebrate his life. His life and his legacy will live on through each and every person that knew him. Marco taught us to never judge a book by its cover, to extend your hand to a person in need; to put your family first and that there’s always a reason to roast a pig and celebrate with your loved ones.