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Joseph “Joe” Del Vecchio, 87, Vero Beach

Joseph (AKA Joe) Del Vecchio, 87, of Vero Beach, died Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

He was born on April 18, 1923, in Hackensack, N.J.

Del Vecchio graduated from Bogota High School in 1941 and Montclair State Teachers College in 1948.

He served in the military between 1943 and 1946 as a trained lab technician aboard the hospital ship U.S. Emily Weider Army Hospital Ship in both the European and Pacific areas.

After graduation from College, he and Mary Mac Gown were married in 1948 in the Congregation Church in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.

He continued with his education and earned a master’s degree in microbiology from Montclair State Teachers College.

He taught at Thomas Jefferson High School in Elizabeth, N.J. for 19 years and the 16 years at Kean College of New Jersey.

During the working years, he raised a family of four and was active in both church and community.

Together the family started a 4-H Club in their neighborhood, worked together in organizing CROP Walks for the community to raise funds for world hunger and self help projects in third world nations.

Del Vecchio was president in the Parent Teacher Organization and was active in Monmouth Presbytery.

He was also a delegate to Synod and General Assembly.

Del Vecchio and his family camped in all the lower 48 except Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

They hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon twice, once from the south rim when the children were still young and once again from the north rim after the children were grown up.

They hiked many miles of the Appalachian Trail including the climb to the mile high northern terminus of Mt. Katahdin.

Del Vecchio retired in 1982 and moved to Vero Beach.

Still active during his retirement years, Del Vecchio was elected an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach and again a delegate to General Assembly.

After his eldership, he was elected a deacon in the church.

On two separate occasions he was part of the team that went to Ticul, Mexico on a mission tour.

Then in January of 2003 both Joe and Mary departed America to become volunteer missionaries in Papua New Guinea for two and a half years.

They served as managers of the shipping center in Lae, PNG.

Del Vecchio had long been a fine wood worker, making furniture or building Habitat for Humanity houses or the joy of making toys for grandchildren.

When the house began to look more like a toy store, a new business was born and given the name of MAJOCRAFTS.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Mary, of Vero Beach; son James, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota; son Robert, of Bernardsville, NJ; daughter Ruth, of Wilson, Wis; daughter Jody, of Waxhaw, N.C.; sister Mary Fields, of Southhampton, Conn; sister Bridget Criscuola, of Sunnyside, N.Y.; brother Pasquale Del Vecchio, of Birmingham; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The family will be hosting a memorial service to celebrate Del Vecchio’s life mid August at First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Wycliffe Bible Associates.

Contributions can be sent to: Wycliffe Bible Volunteers, P.O. Box 6281, Orlando, FL 32862-8211

Arrangements are under the direction of Cox-Gifford-Seawinds Funeral Home and Crematory, Vero Beach, Florida.

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