Joseph Cuzzocreo, Sr., 83, beloved husband of Emma Clini Cuzzocreo of Orange passed away June 15 in the Hospital of St. Raphael.
Loving father of Toni Marie (Robert) Gelineau of Woodbridge, Roy (Stephanie) Cuzzocreo and Joseph Cuzzocreo, Jr. both of Orange and the late James L. Cuzzocreo. Cherished grandfather of Matthew, David, Daniel and Brian Cuzzocreo and Marciana Gelineau. Son of the late Anthony and Lucy DeAngelo Cuzzocreo. Brother of Ernest Cuzzocreo of Sonora, CA and the late Marguerite Viggiano and John Cuzzocreo. Nephew of Mary Cuzzocreo of Orange.
It is almost impossible to have lived in Orange and not know Joseph Cuzzocreo. At ease speaking to school children and Senators, Joe loved his family, his community and his town.
A rodeo rider in his youth, his involvement in community and civic affairs spanned the length of his life, from boy scouts as a youth, service in the United States Army as a young man, to being awarded the Town of Orange Living Treasure Award in 2012.
Born in Orange, Joe worked as a carpenter in town, building houses with his brother, John Cuzzocreo, until taking over the Orange Fence and Supply Company in 1958 from his father, Anthony, who started the company in 1930. Joe handed the reins of the company to his son, Roy, in 1990 and continued to work and serve the town and its people. Joe Cuzzocreo served his town in innumerable ways over the years.
An Orange Police Commissioner for 47 years, he served also as chairman of that Commission, and member of the building committee constructing the new police facility on Lambert Road.
Joe also volunteered to build the book shelving in the Public Library when it first opened in the Firelight Shopping Center.
Joe was also a member of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department and could be seen every year at the Orange Fireman’s Carnival. Joe volunteered with the Orange Memorial Day Parade Committee, the Orange Country Fair, the Orange Sesquicentennial Celebration and the Orange Playground Committee.
A past president of the Orange Rotary Club, Joe was presented by Rotary International with both the Paul Harris Fellowship Award and, in 2006, the “Service Above Self” award. Joe took particular pride in his work on the Rotary Scholarship committee.
Joseph Cuzzocreo accepting his 2012 Living Treasure Award.
He loved working with young people, and was for 55 years a bus driver for the Orange/Amity school system, sometimes carrying to school the children of students he had driven years before.
In 1982 Joe and his wife, Emma, established a non-profit organization for the a community living facility in the town for adults with developmental disabilities; this facility continues it’s work today.
Joe received the “Good Scouts Award” in 2011 from the Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, served as a board member for Easter Seals Goodwill Industries and past member of the Lions Club. His service to the Town of Orange included membership on the Orange Land Trust, the Orange Safety Committee, the Orange Economic and Development Committee.
In 2005 he was named the Democrat of the Year by the Orange Democrats, and in 2001 received the first ever Public Service Award from the Secretary of the State of Connecticut. He was a founding member of the group that became the Orange Chamber of Commerce, and received the Chambers Community Service Award in 2001, and a 50-year (retired) member of the American Legion.
Friends may call at the PORTO FUNERAL HOME, 830 Jones Hill Rd., West Haven MONDAY from 4:00-8:00 PM. and are asked to go directly to Holy Infant Church Tuesday morning at 11:00 for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment with military honors will follow in Orange Center Cemetery.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Rotary Club of Orange Foundation, P O Box 894, Orange, CT 06477.