Music 02

Joseph Fortunato DeRisi

February 27, 1929 ~ January 19, 2022 (age 92)

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HAMDEN- Giuseppi (Joseph/Joe) Fortunato DeRisi

     Joe passed away on January 19, 2022 at the Danbury Hospital ED at the age of 92. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut on February 27, 1929 to Vincenza and Salvatore DeRisi who emigrated to the U.S. from Caserta, Italy. Joe was the youngest of four children and was predeceased by sisters Antoinette and Catherine and brother David.

     A gifted upright bass player, Joe began performing at clubs and weddings as a young man. It was through his musical side-career that he met his beloved wife, Willene Belle (Lucas) DeRisi, an equally talented alto saxophone player. The two were married in 1956 at Sacred Heart Church in New Haven two years after his honorable discharge from the U.S. Naval Reserves. In addition to his wife, he leaves behind their children, Joseph David DeRisi and Laura DeRisi-Purvis, all of Hamden.

     When he was 16 years old, Joe was hired as “Office Boy” at G&O Manufacturing in New Haven—the start of a long and successful career of which he was quite proud. After attending night school for training, Joe became a remarkably accomplished manufacturing engineer, helping G&O to innovate in the areas of product design and manufacturing process design. Before his retirement he earned at least two patents and traveled as far as Mexico, South Korea, and the Philippines to advise others on best practices in manufacturing.

     Joe approached his pastimes with a similar zeal to his work. He golfed, ran road races well into his seventies and was known for beating men half his age on the racquetball court. Even after he slowed his exercise to a mile walk on the treadmill several times a week (into his late eighties), he showed an impressive stamina for traveling to the casino to gamble and sip his favorite cocktail: a Grey Goose martini with olives.

     He was deeply and generously devoted to his wife and family throughout his lifetime. Joe had a gift for humor, storytelling, and making emotional speeches at family gatherings. In addition to his wife, children and daughter-in-law Pat Heavren, he is survived by six grandchildren: Lia, Kyla, and Lucas DeRisi and Aimee, Thomas and Justin Hatch, three great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. The family is especially grateful for the daily loving care he received from daughter Laura and grandson Justin who lived with him over the last year as his health declined.

     A celebration of life will be held in Joe’s honor this spring at the home of his son. In lieu of flowers or other acknowledgments, please consider donating in his memory to those who have contributed in the past year to the care of his wife: Alzheimer's Association, CT Chapter or send check to same at: 200 Executive Blvd, Suite 4B, Southington, CT 06489.

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