City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremation

Luke Celeste

Smithfield, North Carolina

Age 88.
Died 05/15/2022.

Luke Celeste
Luke Celeste, most recently of Smithfield NC, formerly of Avenel, NJ, passed away peacefully on May 15, 2022 at the age of 88. Always a jokester, Luke kept the staff (most recently) of Meadowview Assisted Living laughing. The stories of his family and loved ones were kept close to his heart and on the tip of his tongue. He loved to be in touch with family and reminisce. He had a gift of remembering details and sharing stories, and Luke had many stories! Whether from his service in the US Army, his running the family luncheonette, his stint working as a bus driver through the Newark riots, to the softball games for American Flange where he managed the Quality Control department, Luke’s character always made an impression.

Luke was an accomplished handyman and car mechanic, and loved gardening, animals, coin collecting, and the New York Yankees. He also loved watching Nature documentaries, had a magnificent singing voice, and was overjoyed to watch the 2022 Super Bowl with his son, Alan

Luke was born in Newark, NJ on September 1, 1933 to Concetta and Pasquale Celeste, both immigrants from Italy. One of 9 children, he is survived by his brother David Celeste of NJ, many nieces and nephews, and their children. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Patricia Celeste (spouse Pat) also of NJ. His brother Elio, was a fallen veteran of World War II.

Luke is survived by Zelda Celeste Chehoski, his former wife and mother of his children Valerie Celeste Drohan (spouse Dan) and Alan Celeste (spouse Lee-Ellen) both of NC. Their son, Glenn Celeste died as an infant. Luke has 5 grown granddaughters: Erin Rusinek (spouse Chris), Shannon Adams (spouse Ryan), Cassidy, Kerian and Brelyn Celeste and 3 great-grandchildren, Benjamin and Molly Rusinek and Quinn Adams all of NC. He adored all 5 of the the girls as they grew up and was referred to as He-pa by some and G-Pa by others. He later loved the title Great-Grandpa. Luke relocated from NJ to NC in 2018 to be closer to his children and their families.

Luke was predeceased in 2017 by his partner of nearly 40 years, Linda Markus of Avenel, NJ. Linda’s children are Debbie Markus Rose of FL and Donna Markus Firestone. He delighted in the title Pop-Pop to Linda's grandchildren: Matthew Firestone of NJ and Kenny Firestone (spouse Brittany) and to Kenny’s children Jacob and Kaitlyn whom he considered his great grandchildren. Luke was also family to Linda”s sister Jane Conklin Schubiger (spouse Robert) of FL.

Luke found his church home with Reedy Creek Baptist Church, Cary NC, and he loved the Lord.

A graveside service will be held on September 1, 2022 (Luke’s 89th birthday) at 1:30 at the Cloverleaf Cemetery, Woodbridge NJ.

For additional information or for service details, please reach out to the family directly.

You can share this obituary using the following address, or click the button below to share on Facebook.

City of Oaks Cremation and Funeral Home is a full-service funeral home in Raleigh, serving all of North Carolina and beyond. We provide an alternative to costly funeral homes and every day we help families in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and all over North Carolina make simple, affordable funeral arrangements.

Simply having to reach out to a funeral home can feel overwhelming. Our goal is to simplify the entire funeral home experience and make the process as easy as possible. We hope to eliminate any unnecessary surprises by publishing our total cost and the services we provide directly on our website. All of our obituaries are provided free of charge as a way to help families celebrate and commemorate the lives of their loved ones.

Our Promise

Apples to Apples

Just like all other licensed funeral homes in North Carolina, City of Oaks Cremation, LLC is regulated by the NC Board of Funeral Service.

The same laws that apply to the big corporate funeral homes also apply to the modest independently owned firms like ours. All crematories in North Carolina, regardless of who owns them, are inspected annually by the state and must adhere to the same rules and laws.

Genuine Care

We're committed to providing families within our community unsurpassed service before, during and after the time of loss.

Our staff will provide clear communication to your family through each step as we move forward from the original phone call notifying us of a death to the time we deliver the urn back to your family. We will treat your family with the utmost respect, as we honor the wishes of your loved one.

We promise to make this process affordable and as endurable as possible.

State Wide

Our Funeral Home is located in Wake County NC; however, we provide our services to families throughout the entire State.

Unlike other funeral homes, we don't charge an additional mileage fee. Regardless of what county you live in, we can help your family with making simple, affordable funeral arrangements. From Asheville to Wilmington, we're proud to help families statewide.

Our Services

Direct Cremation


Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. We include everything you need for a simple or direct cremation. Simple, affordable and reliable. We have not changed the cost of our direct cremation service since we opened City of Oaks in 2012.

Cremation with Solidified Remains


We offer the option of choosing how you receive your loved ones remains. Selecting our Direct Cremation with Solidified Remains option is a beautiful way to transform cremated remains into 40-60 “stones” that you can hold.

Cremation with Visitation


City of Oaks Funeral Home and Cremation provides an affordable cremation option with onsite visitation. Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. Simple, affordable and reliable.

Immediate Burial


An immediate burial has the same end result as a traditional burial; however, we have eliminated the extra (sometimes unnecessary) services prior to getting to the cemetery. Not everyone wants an open casket for viewing or a limousine for the family. Despite the term immediate, we can move as fast as you need or as slow as you like. This option simply allows you to save money by eliminating some of the fancy extras at the funeral home.

Traditional Funeral


We offer the same traditional funeral services as the big corporately owned funeral homes in the area; however, we cost about half the amount. You might consider a traditional funeral service if your family is looking for an open casket visitation, a traditional church service or a funeral service in the funeral home's chapel. A traditional funeral service can be altered to fit the needs of your family.

Green Burial


This establishment is one of a select number of funeral homes who meet the criteria for providing green funeral service by the Green Burial Council; a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization working to encourage environmentally sustainability in the field of funeral service. Our Green options allow for a funeral to take place without the use of toxic and non-biodegradable materials/chemicals.



As an alternative to traditional cremation, City of Oaks Funeral Home also offers Aquamation. The Aquamation process, often referred to as alkaline hydrolysis, uses a solution of water and potassium hydroxide to facilitate natural decomposition.

City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremations