Joseph Gio Polefrone passed away on Sept. 10th after 95 years of being a wonderful son, brother, husband, father, and friend. Joe was a humble man who lived a full life filed with joy and laughter.
He spent his life in Akron except for his US Naval Service during World War II and his final year, when he lived near Pittsburgh to be near his son Frank and his wife Joanna. Joe was a loving and dedicated family-man and father who supported every school, sports, music, and other activity of his four children.
Joe shortened his education when he was 16 to earn money to support his parents and siblings after the great depression, and he vowed that his children’s education was a high priority, resulting in all of his children completing 4-year colleges and attaining advanced degrees – as have his all of his grandchildren. Joe was handsome and a good listener, always willing to lend a hand, and always able to fix anything mechanical, making him a very popular friend and neighbor. He retired from Kroger’s in the Maintenance Department.
When he was 18 years old, in 1942, Joe enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the USS Montpelier (CL-57). Six months later, he was part of the War of the Solomon Islands manning a 5-inch gun turret, day-after-day until he was injured two years later. Joe and his shipmates’ work are chronicled in the best sellers “Pacific War Diary” and “Night Work” and Joe is memorialized at the US Navy Memorial in Washington, DC.
Joe met the love of his life Dorothy “Mae” Morgan while dancing to big band music after returning from the war. They loved to dance and frequently cleared the floor as other dancers watched them ‘Jitterbug’ to any music with swing in the style of Dorsey, Krupa, and Miller. In fact, they cleared the dance floor just a few years ago at one of their grandchild’s wedding! Joe built the family home in Goodyear Heights with his bare hands and they lived there together for more than 60 years. They always hosted parties with bountiful unending meals for family and friends, their children’s friends, and teammates. Their children’s favorite place to visit was Noni and Poppi’s home. After they retired, Joe and Mae enjoyed travelling to see their family and sights around the world. Joe very much enjoyed his daily lunches and hanging out at the Mall food court with his brothers, sisters, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Filiappo and Caterina (Bologna) Polefrone; sisters, Vivian Patrino, Anna “Sue” Katanic, Lizabeta “Elizabeth” Hill, Emilia “Amelia” Dallas, Catherine “Rita” Grescovich; brothers, Nicola “Nick”, Phillip, and Frank Polefrone.
Joe is survived by his wife of 69 years, Dorothy “Mae” (Morgan); daughters, Jodi (Eric) Weber of Athens, GA, Rita (Richard) Cevasco of Mason, OH; sons, Phillip (Amy) Polefrone of Ellicott City, MD, and Frank (Joanna) Polefrone of Gibsonia, PA; 11 grandchildren: Amelia (Benjamin), Joy Marie, Joseph, David, Andrew, Phillip (Katrina), Joel, Sarah, Emma (Zachary), Moira (David), and Vincent (Anna); 2 great grandchildren: Camryn and Caleb; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be on 10 am on Monday, Sept 16, 2019 at the Donovan Funeral Home, 17 Southwest Ave., Tallmadge with a service immediately following at 11 am that day.
Interment will be at Tallmadge Cemetery.
After Joe was injured during WWII, he was disabled and was a member of the DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION for more almost 75 years. Instead of flowers, we hope that you will make a Memorial Donation in care of Joe Polefrone at DAV.ORG
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Disabled American Veterans Association / DAV