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.
In July 1945, He married his beloved wife of 55 years Anna (Pace) Di Zazzo. They had two sons, Joseph G. Di Zazzo and David J. Di Zazzo and his wife, Joanne, all of Methuen; and have three grandchildren, Dain Di Zazzo of Redwood City, Calif., Lauren Di Zazzo of Boston, and Natalie Di Zazzo of Methuen, Mass.; and his brother-in-law, Frank Pace. He is also survived by three nieces.
Mr. Di Zazzo was predeceased by his beloved siblings, Alec and Helen Di Zazzo; and his long time companion, Angelina LoPiano.
ARRANGEMENTS: Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend visiting hours on Thursday, January 23, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Cataudella Funeral Home, 126 Pleasant Valley St., Methuen. Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 24, at 11a.m., in the funeral home chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, 360 Merrimack St., Bldg 5, Lawrence, MA 01843, or Lazarus House P.O. Box 408, Lawrence, MA 01842.
For directions and condolences, please visit www.cataudellafh.com.