Dr. Joseph Vincent Petrucci
Dr. Joseph Vincent Petrucci, age 95, passed away peacefully at home in Truckee, California on February 10th, 2018. The youngest child of the late Joseph (Giuseppe) and Elizabeth (Letizia) Mancuso Petrucci, he was happily married for 67 years to Alice D’Almeida Petrucci, whom he met in college after returning from World War II.
Born and reared in Winthrop, Massachusetts, Joe witnessed nearly a century of American history. The son of Italian immigrants, his is the story of the American dream. He grew up playing neighborhood baseball, eating ice cream at the local soda fountain, and listening to “The Shadow Knows” on the radio. Upon high school graduation, he attended the University of Rhode Island before enlisting in the U.S. Army to serve in World War II. He was assigned as an engineer to the 294th Joint Assault Signal Company (JASCO), and landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, in the first wave on the morning of D-Day. He miraculously survived one of the war’s deadliest battles on Omaha Beach, and later served in the Pacific theater as well. He was awarded numerous medals, including the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars and Arrowhead, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the Croix de Guerre. Although wounded in action on D-Day, he refused the Purple Heart because he felt accepting it would dishonor the brave men who sacrificed their lives on that historic day.
In 2015, Joe was accorded France’s highest honor when he was named a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour by French President Francois Holland for his service to France on D-Day. He received the Legion of Honour medal from Consul General Pauline Carmona at a ceremony at the French Consulate in San Francisco in the presence of his wife, children, grandchildren, and friends. In addition, he was thrice presented with medals at the Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach, where he was honored in 2007 to “retire the colors” – lowering the cemetery’s American flag at “Taps” – accompanied by his family.
Upon returning from the war, Joe met Alice at the University of Rhode Island and went on to receive Bachelors and Doctor of Optometry degrees from Columbia University. They married in 1951 and settled in Winthrop, where they raised their four children. With his friendly and kind personality, Joe built a thriving optometry practice and had a wide circle of friends. He was named a top optometrist in the Boston area for many consecutive years, served as President of the Kiwanis Club, and was a Director of the Cottage Park Yacht Club. He also was a licensed civil engineer, a brilliant mathematician, a skilled woodworker, and a very talented visual artist – a trait he passed on to several of his grandchildren, much to his delight.
Most importantly, Joe was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who gave his family unconditional love. His greatest accomplishment, from his perspective, was the close-knit family he created with Alice. He adored everything about Alice, and was immensely proud of her. He also was extremely proud of his children and grandchildren. He celebrated their academic achievements, athletic accomplishments, and artistic accolades, helped them with their homework, and even sat to have his portrait painted by his eldest granddaughter.
In later years, Joe and Alice lived in Lexington, Massachusetts, and in Los Angeles and Truckee, California to be closer to family.
Joe is survived by Alice and their children: Laura Petrucci of Incline Village NV; Joe (Carol) Petrucci of Mercer Island WA; Linda (Dan) Geiger of Los Altos CA; and Lisa (Keith Mullin) Petrucci of Truckee CA. He also is survived by eleven grandchildren: Julia, Robby, and Madeleine Carroll; Andrew and Caley Petrucci; Matthew, Emily, and Nate Geiger; and Amelia, Tyler, and Sawyer Mullin; as well as in-laws Alfred D’Almeida and Helena D’Almeida Matthews and many loving nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his four siblings: Vincent Petrucci, Mary Petrucci Jackson, Salvatore “Tory” Petrucci, and Edith Petrucci Violette.
While Joe will be deeply missed by his family and friends, we are grateful for the many years we had with him and for his shining example of love and family – a gift to us all.
A service of remembrance will be held at 11am on Friday, February 16th, at Assumption Church, 10930 Alder Drive, Truckee. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, 3725 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring KY 41076. https://cst.dav.org
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