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Joseph Paul DiFranco

August 28, 1935 - September 21, 2021

Joseph Paul DiFranco

August 28, 1935 - September 21, 2021

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Obituary For Joseph Paul DiFranco

Joseph P. DiFranco, 86, died suddenly on Tuesday, September 21st. Born in Salem, the seventh child of eight children to the late Francesco and Angelina (Amenta) DiFranco, raised by their father after his mother died when he was just 7 years old. His brothers and sisters became very close during those years and their families and extended families remain very close to this day.

A student at Salem High, he played on the football team and developed his love of the sport, eventually becoming a high school football referee later in his life and was proud to have officiated at two high school Superbowls. After graduating in 1954, Joe used his disciplined upbringing to serve in the Navy during the Korean War being honorably discharged as a first-class electrician in 1958.
He met his loving wife, Marie (DeFilippo) DiFranco, while at the Willey House in Swampscott. After using his dancing skills to sweep her off her feet, they married in 1960, started a family, and had a wonderful loving life together for nearly 61 years. He was a caring, loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He took so much pride in his children’s and their families lives and loved attending his grandchildren’s sporting events.

Hired by the Peabody Fire Department in 1964 and promoted to Lieutenant in June of 1970, he remained a Peabody firefighter for 33 years retiring in July of 1997. “Big Joe”, as he was known at the station, had a passion for firefighters and his community. He was the first of three generations of firefighters and was proud to see his son and grandson, who both carry his name, be sworn in as firefighters. He served his community of Peabody and the fire department in many capacities on the Peabody Retirement Board, the Firefighters Union, Massachusetts Retirees and the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts up until his death.

Surpassing his love of firefighters was his love for family and friends. He was a proud Sicilian; his warm smile and contagious laugh was often seen at the Italian clubs in Salem and Beverly where he’d catch a game or play some cards with the ‘gang’. Marie and he got to visit Sicily for their 50th wedding anniversary where they were able to reconnect with his family there.
A devote Catholic he was very active in his Parish of St Ann’s in South Peabody and was a staple at the 4:00pm Saturday Mass. He relied on his faith to overcome any hurdles he faced in life. He was a wonderful man and his contagious sense of humor and love for family and friends which were the cornerstones of his life, will be sorely missed by all.

He is survived by his wife, Marie, son, Joseph DiFranco Jr. and wife Miranda of Melbourne, FL, son, John DiFranco and wife, Susan of Peabody, son, Peter DiFranco of Tampa, FL, daughter, Christine Whitehead and husband James of Peabody, grandchildren, Nicholas DiFranco and his fiancé Lauren Ward, Mia DiFranco and her fiancé Ricardo Perez, Kendall Stalder, Michael DiFranco, Lily DiFranco, Jonah DiFranco, Timothy Whitehead, Stephen Whitehead, Erica Whitehead, Joseph DiFranco III, Sydnie DiFranco, and Ava DiFranco, a great granddaughter, Mar Elena DiFranco Perez, his sister, Dorothy Firl of Petaluma, CA, his brother, Charles DiFranco and his wife, Anne of Bedford, NH, his bothers-in-law, James Gardner and Carmine DeFilippo and his wife, Teresa, his sister-in-law, Mary DeFranco, and many loving nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Rose Gardner, Carmello DiFranco, Paul DiFranco and his wife Dolly, Salvatore DeFranco, and Ann Farinelli and her husband Anthony.

A Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 26, from 3:00 until 7:00 PM at the Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home at the 82 Lynn St., Peabody Location, The family asks that masks be worn if you are not vaccinated. His funeral will be on Monday at 9:30 from the Funeral Home followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Ann’s Church, 140 Lynn St., Peabody at 10:30 AM. Burial will be in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Peabody. Expression of sympathy may be made in his memory to St. Jude Children Research Hospital, 501 St, Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105 or to the Peabody Firemen’s Relief Association, 41 Lowell St., Peabody. For directions and online guestbook please visit www.ccbfuneral.com.

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  • Very sorry for your tragic loss. I had the privilage to work with Joe since the early 1970's. He was not just a great man but a great firefighter, union man and teacher to the new guys. He will be sadly missed

  • I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of Joe. Please accept my condolences

  • Dear Marie, Joe and the DiFranco family, Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. Marie, It was very nice getting to meet and get to know you recently, when you were there for our family after the passing of my mom, who you knew through St. Ann's. I pray for you all and hope you will find peace, and comfort at this difficult time. Respectfully, Larry Decker

  • The Hooper family offers our heartfelt condolences to the entire Di Franco family. We are so thankful for all of the terrific memories of spending time with you all over the years. Knowing Joe was loving Joe. We shared so many laughs over the years and he was always so concerned about what was going on in our family. Marjorie and I are especially thankful to have had lunch and spend the day with you on the Cape only a few short weeks ago. We will treasure the memories of that lunch and the conversations we had and will remember that final visit with Joe ever so fondly. Our hearts and prayers are with all of you.

  • Dear Marie, We were so saddened to hear about Joe. Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Ralph and Susan Howcroft

  • Auntie Marie snd family, Dan snd I are so sorry for your loss, our family's loss of a wonderful, loving, and caring uncle. We will miss him terribly. May he Rest In Peace. Patty snd Danny Lonergan

  • A man of integrity! I am so sorry for your loss. I knew Joe from his being on the bargaining team of IAFF local 925. Over the years he earned my respect for his honesty during negotiations of multiple Firefighter contracts. May he rest in eternal peace. Dan Kulak

  • I could not believe the death notice of your husband Joe when I saw it in today's newspaper. Last week, you came to my home with muffins and Mass card in hand to console me for the recent loss of my wife Josephine. You sat with me and offered kind words to ease my grief. And now, I and my family, offer you our sincerest and heartfelt condolences for the loss of your husband Joe. RIP

  • I am saddened to learn of Joe's passing. I have many fond memories of Joe at numerous PFFM meeting and events. I know how much he loved being a firefighter and how proud he was to serve. Captain Keith H. Jackson (retired) Attleboro Fire, Local 848 IAFF/PFFM

  • My deepest condolences to you Marie and family I am so sorry

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with all family & friends In memory, Jack & Dixie Ward

  • Dear Marie and family, It is with great respect and fondness that Joe will always be in my prayers. This is a great loss for all who knew him. Rest in Peace Joe

  • With love and fond memories of backyard BBQs and a beautiful boat ride, prosecco and connoli. We will miss Uncle Joe, rest in peace sweet and loving soul. Love Bren and Jer

  • I only have fond and meaningful experiences and memories of my "Uncle Joe." While not related by blood, I never questioned the fact that was not the case. He and his family were and are family by every measure. Through his presence and outwardly good nature, Uncle Joe helped define for me what it means to be a good-hearted person. By way of family friendship with the DiFranco's, I was fortunate enough to have instilled in me core appreciations of friendship, family, respect, humor, travel, varying cultures from the local to the distant, the sharing of meals, honesty, and so much more. Though not always present, Uncle Joe always remained a beacon in how to approach the days before me. He is truly the kind of person that no matter how much time there was between visits or communication, there never seemed to be a gap. I genuinely believe that is the measure of a good, kind, and honorable person on varying and vast levels. I will genuinely miss his laugh, his smile that could brighten a cavern, his presence, welcoming good nature, and countless other valued qualities. I will honor my Uncle Joe in every way I can by passing on and continuing his good nature and everything that I learned from him and his wonderful family. -Matthew Penkala

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