Methuen — On January 19th, Joseph Di Zazzo, 92, of Methuen, finished the final chapter and closed the cover to a wonderful book. Listening to his favorite jazz ballads, Joe passed on early that evening at the Nevins Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
He was born in Lawrence, and was the son of the late Angelo and Mary Di Zazzo. While being raised in Lawrence, Mr. Di Zazzo was one of the founding members of the Roman A. C. Neighborhood Club in the Elm Street district, and played fullback on the club's football team.
Mr. Di Zazzo was educated in Lawrence, attending the Oliver School and Lawrence High.
He then joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In the winter of 1939, he was sent to West Burke, Vt., to clean up the massive forest destruction created from the Hurricane of 1938.
Drafted in January 1942 in the U.S. Army Air Forces, Joe was sent off to aircraft mechanic schools in Warrensburg, Va., Maxton, N.C., and Wayne, Ind., as one of the original members of 55th Troop Carrier Squadron.
In June of 1943, his Squadron left San Francisco on the SS Lurline. The ship pulled in safety at Port Moresby on July 4, 1943. Here the crews met up with their C-47 Cargo planes.
From Port Moresby to Okinawa, Mr. Di Zazzo rose in the ranks to Staff Sargent. As a C-47 and later C-46 Crew Chief, he was responsible for three planes and 10 ground mechanics.
Their mission was to provide air movement of air landing troops, glider borne troops, parachute troop and equipment, evacuation of wounded and resupplying ground units.
During that period, Mr. Di Zazzo was awarded three campaign ribbons, four battle stars and two oak leaf clusters.
Joseph also continued his education and received a degree in auto body repair at the Utilities Engineering Institute. He worked for many years in local auto body dealerships, and retired in 1986 from Motta Auto Body of Methuen.