Joseph R. "Papa Joe" Fusco Sr. age 82, of Rome, passed away quietly with loving family and friends at his side on Friday, May 4, 2012. Born on January 14th, 1930, in Rome, he was the son of Angelo and Amelia Marcelleta Fusco. He attended Rome public schools and entered military service in 1947. Joe was stationed in Trieste, Italy serving with the Army of Occupation in Europe. He was honorably discharged in 1951. Joe was a lifetime member of the VFW.
In 1956 he went to work full time at Griffiss Air Force Base; working on the flight line refueling aircraft. He worked his way up eventually becoming the operations foreman of the entire fuels branch at Griffiss. During this time, Joe also worked for several local companies over the years such as the machine shop at Utica Gear, Nolan Fuels, Smiyth Ford, and several other local garages. He drove truck for many years, with Bestway Lines, Carl’s Drugstore, Friendly Gas, and several other companies. He was very proud of the Million Mile Safety Certificate that he was awarded during the course of his accident free driving career. He retired from Griffiss in 1991 after 35 years of dedicated service with the United States Air Force. He continued to work in the heavy equipment construction field until he was in his late 70s. His work ethic was second to none!
Over the years, Joe cherished his time with his family. He enjoyed many camping and fishing trips, as well as family gatherings and spending quality time at his camp in Constableville. Joe loved riding his 1968 Harley Davidson Electra-glide, as well as snowmobiling and operating his heavy equipment. He was a master mechanic, welder, and fabricator. Joe was an accomplished carpenter, mason, and plumber, having built and remodeled many homes in the Rome area.
He was well known for his ever-present smile and a booming hello as he greeted the morning customers at his wife’s restaurant, "The Iron Kettle" from his favorite seat in the first booth. Joe had a caring nature and displayed this through his humble willingness to help people, whether he knew them or not.
Joe was united in marriage to Wanda F. Milewski in 1949. They shared a blessed union of 28 years until her passing in 1977. They are survived by seven children; Christine Bambury, Barbara and Michael Crone of Erie, PA, Margaret Morgia of Sackets Harbor, NY, Joseph Jr. and Laura Fusco of Rome, NY, Mary Rose Fusco of Lewisberry, PA, Donna and Brad Kirch of Camden, NY, Angela and Sam D’Urso of Rome, NY, as well as eighteen grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. A sister, Lucy Reckentine, Rome, two brothers Art and Pat Fusco, Westmoreland, and John and Michelle Fusco, Georgia. Joe is predeceased by a daughter Sharon, a granddaughter Amelia Bambury, and brother-in-law George Reckentine.
Joe later wed Maxine (Bonk) Quinn on February 14, 1981. He leaves behind four beloved stepchildren from their union of 31 years. Kathryn and Fred Jasiewicz of Rome, Rick and Melody Meisenhelder of Floyd, Randy and Ann Meisenhelder of Rome, Tim and Tina Meisenhelder of Floyd as well as six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Joe’s family wishes to express their gratitude to Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., his Doctors, and all his friends who have been there to support him.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, May 7, 2012, at the Nunn and Harper Funeral Home, Inc., 418 N. George St., Rome, at 10:15 AM and a Mass of the Christian Burial at 11:00 AM at St. Peter’s Church where the Rev. Philip A. Hearn will officiate. Interment will take place in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Family and friends are invited and may call on Saturday from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and Sunday from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the funeral home. Contributions may be made in Joe’s memory to the Henry P. Smith Post B-52 Flag Project. You may view the obituary and send a message of sympathy at www.nunnandharper.com.