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November 20, 1920 ~ February 5, 2022 (age 101) 101 Years Old
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Joseph Papandrea passed away peacefully at his home on Feb. 5, 2022, at the age of 101.
Born Nov. 16, 1920 in Mammola, Italy to the late Vincenzo and Maria Nunziatina Papandrea, he immigrated to the United States at the age of six. His family settled in Barre, Vt.
After high school, he studied for a year at American International College in Springfield, Mass. and took a civil service job as a machinist at the Springfield Arsenal, where he excelled in technical aspects of weapon development. He was drafted into the Army in October 1942 and declined a deferment for his essential munitions work at the Arsenal.
Joe was a proud veteran of World War II and a Purple Heart recipient. As tech sergeant, he was in charge of small arms for the 534th Heavy Maintenance Tank Company in General George Patton's Third Army, responsible for diagnosing and resolving technical gun problems for tank and ground troops. He landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day and then participated in four major military campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. At the war’s conclusion, he was hired by the Army to help form and play in a seven-piece band to entertain at officer clubs throughout Europe.
After returning home, Joe attended the University of Vermont, graduating with B.S. and M.S. degrees. In 1952, he married Roseann Parlovecchio of Arlington, his wife of 56 years. They eventually settled in Belmont, where they raised their family. Roseann passed away in 2008.
Joe worked for Lincoln Lab at MIT before embarking on a 33-year teaching career. He taught high school chemistry, physics, biology and French and coached basketball and baseball. In retirement, he was very fond of his collection of notes from students who thanked him often after college or graduate school for being a tough but influential taskmaster.
Music was an important part of Joe's life. At an early age, he learned from his father how to play the violin. In high school, he was concertmaster of Vermont’s all-state orchestra. While teaching and into retirement, he worked as a freelance musician, playing saxophone and clarinet on weekends at various Boston-area venues notably in bands of Harry Marshard, Ruby Newman, Vaugn Monroe, Peter Duchin and Tony Pastor. He continued playing the saxophone daily beyond his 100th birthday.
Over the years, Joe was active in the Dante Alighieri Society, Sons of Italy, veterans organizations and the Belmont Senior Center.
A dedicated family man, Joe is survived by his daughter, Donna Stratford of Belmont, his son, Joseph V. Papandrea, and his daughter-in-law, Laura, both of Paxton, Mass. He was predeceased by his wife, Roseann Papandrea, and his sister, Olga Chaloux of Barre, Vt. He was also a loving Papa to his grandchildren: Michael Stratford (and wife Samantha); Cory Stratford (and fiancée Maggie Cook); Tania Papandrea; Marcus Papandrea (and fiancée Nahid Naghshbandi); and Sofia Stratford.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Joseph’s visitation in the Short, Williamson & Diamond Funeral Home, 52 Trapelo Road, BELMONT, Saturday, Feb. 12 at 9 a.m. followed by a funeral Mass in St. Joseph’s Church, 130 Common St., Belmont, at 10 a.m. Interment with U.S. Army Military Honors at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge. In lieu of flowers, contribution in Joseph’s memory to the Belmont Council on Aging, 133 Beech St., Belmont, MA 02478 would be sincerely appreciated. Swdfuneral home.com The Town of Belmont requires masks to be worn while inside buildings.