Baselio G. (Joe) Zorzanello, LCDR USN retired, died of complications from a stroke Saturday, January 19, at Connecticut Hospice in Branford, Conn. He was 95.
Mr. Zorzanello was born in West Stockbridge, MA, the son of Guglielmo Zorzanello, a baker, and Bianca (nee Collalto), a homemaker.
He did not learn English until he went to school but excelled academically, eventually skipping a grade. He entered the United States Navy in 1935 and served in World War II, earning more than a dozen medals, including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with Valor for heroism in a combat zone. He was captured by the Japanese during the battle of Corregidor and survived 39 months in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
There, he became friends with Louis Cusano who later introduced him to his sister, Margaret Cusano. Joe and Margaret married in 1952 and remained together until her death in 2006. Mr. Zorzanello retired from the Navy in 1957, and he and Margaret moved to Niantic, CT. They raised their family there until 1978, when they moved to Frederick, MD. They spent 20 years there, where he pursued hobbies such as wine tasting and photography.
In 1998 they moved back to Connecticut, settling in Orange in order to be closer to children and other family. Margaret was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2001, and he cared for her until her death in 2006. Mr. Zorzanello leaves two sons, Bill (Jill) of Mullica Hill, N.J., and Barry (Tami) of Sandy Hook, CT; three daughters, Mary of New Haven, CT, Carolyn Byron of Southington, CT, and Elizabeth Emery of Havertown PA; a sister, Lydia Gerard of Great Barrington, MA., nine grandchildren, Destiny VonHof, Billy and Sophia Zorzanello, Arthur Abeshouse, Julia and Joseph Byron, Elisabeth, Marissa and Nicholas Emery and many nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to express their deep thanks to his caregiver for the past two years, Sena Grandison, and to the caring people of Connecticut Hospice.
Calling hours will be Friday evening, January 25, 2013 from 5 to 8 pm at Smith & Sefcik Funeral Home, 135 Broad St., Milford CT.
A funeral Mass will be held Saturday at 10:30 am directly in Holy Infant Church, Racebrook Rd., Orange, CT.
Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Connecticut Food Bank or the Alzheimer’s Association .
To leave condolences or for directions, please visit our website at: www.georgejsmithandson.com