Joseph Petrozelli, Claudette’s beloved husband of 64 years, passed into eternal life on Sunday, September 5, 2021, at the age of 88. A lifelong New Jersey resident, Joe was born in Garwood to Fred and Ferna Petrozelli. As a child, Joe contracted polio and was told he would never walk but Joe dismissed that prognosis, fighter that he was, and walked all his life. Better yet, he was a great dancer with his bride and wife, Claudette, whom he married in 1957. They built a home and settled on Cedar Road in Whitehouse Station surrounded by farms and friends.
Joe was a proud graduate of St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark and the University of Notre Dame. Joe always rooted: Go Fighting Irish! Joe decided to become a biology teacher and taught AP biology at Cranford High School for 35 years before retiring in 1992. Known as Mr. P to his students, many recalled how he inspired them to pursue science or medical careers. Joe also loved music and enjoyed playing guitar and harmonica, and did so on many occasions leading sing-a-longs and campfire choruses.
Joe and Claudette with their 8 children traveled during the summers across the country and explored the beautiful state parks and landmarks. Many family stories emerged from these adventures, mishaps and camping explorations. After the children grew, went off to college and careers, Joe and Claudette moved to Lebanon and would spend winters in Vero Beach, FL.
Joe was a devoted family man and faithful communicant of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Whitehouse Station. He was a Lector at Mass, active in the choir and member of the Knights of Columbus Council 6930.
Joe is survived by his beloved wife, Claudette; his eight children and their spouses: Fred and his wife, Kathy of FL, Bill and his wife, Nancy of NC, Claudette Hickey and her husband, Ned of CT, Mary Jo Kurtiak of Clinton, Michael and his wife, Kathy of Whitehouse Station, Jim and his wife, Gina of Long Beach Island, Patty Petrozelli and her husband, Mike McDonnell of Colorado, and Theresa Pizzelanti and her husband, Tony of NC. He is also survived by his brother, John Petrozelli and his sister, Joann Duguid as well as 15 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his son-in-law, David Kurtiak, in 2018.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, September 10th at 9:30 A.M. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Whitehouse Station. The family will gather to receive friends and family from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Thursday at the Kearns Funeral Home, 103 Old Highway 28, Whitehouse, NJ.
In lieu of flowers the family would greatly appreciate donations to Catholic Charities at www.ccdom.org