Joseph Papetti, Jr. passed away quietly at home on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at the age of 85.
Joe grew up in Elizabeth, in the Italian enclave of Peterstown. Though he lived in Clark for the past 29 years (and was a communicant of St. Agnes Church), his connection to the “old neighborhood” was an enduring one. An educator, he found joy in working with youth, whether they were students of Elizabeth Public Schools or the kids of St. Anthony’s CYO. An active and caring mentor, he altered the arc of more than a few young lives whose futures were uncertain, supplying guidance and offering hope. Joe cherished happiness, but was not content to be happy himself - - he wanted you to be happy too. Joe was generous to a fault - - if you needed five dollars it was yours, even if it was the last five in his wallet. He loved pigeon-flying (back in the day), the Yankees (always) and a good Scotch.
Joe earned his first college degree at night (from Newark State Teachers College, later to become Kean College), while working a full-time day job. Over the years, he added several masters degrees from Kean, where he eventually became an adjunct professor. He rose steadily through the Elizabeth Public Schools system, from teacher to Assistant Superintendent. He was loved and respected by all. In retirement he served on the Clark Board of Education, enjoyed traveling, Broadway shows, brisk walks with his wife, Janet, and spending time around the pool with family and friends.
Joe is survived by Janet, his wife of 36 years, his nephews, Michael Malloy (Diane), Joseph Papetti, John Papetti, Jr. (Mary Ann) and Steven Gais (Suzanne); his nieces Amelia Kardos (Joe) and Diane Prisco (Sal); his great nephews Ryan Malloy and Leon Gais and his great nieces Kelly Malloy and Grace Malloy; his mother-in-law Mary Gais, his brothers-in-law Donald Malloy and Richard Gais (Judy); and his special friends, Joseph Caporaso and Rosemarie Saraco. Joe was predeceased by his parents, Giuseppe and Amalia Papetti; his sister, Yolanda Malloy; his brothers, John and August; his nephews Daniel Malloy and Christopher Gais; his father-in-law, Domenick Gais; and his sister-in-law, Margaret Gais.
Visitation for family and friends will be held at Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home in Westfield (Masks Required) on Wednesday evening, December 22 from 4-8. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 10:00 AM at St. Anthony’s of Padua Roman Catholic Church, 853 Third Avenue, Elizabeth. Burial will follow at St. Gertrude’s Cemetery, 53 Inman Ave, Colonia, NJ. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you do something kind for another person or donate to St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital: https://www.stjude.org/give/memorials-and-dedications.html or Center for Hope Hospice and Palliative Care, 1900 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076.