ALBANY – Joseph (Giuseppe) Rappazzo, 79, of Albany, passed away gently in his sleep on Thursday, August 1, 2019 at St. Peter’s Hospice Inn. Son of the late Antonio Rappazzo and Sebastiana Bonanno Rappazzo, he was born on August 23, 1939 in Bafia, Messina. Joe was raised in Sicily (Italy) and emmigrated to Albany in 1959. He worked as a skilled laborer in the Construction & General Laborers Local Union #190 from 1961 through 1995. Joe also worked for Price Chopper/Golub Corporation at its Westgate and Madison Avenue locations from 1995 through 2013. When he wasn’t working those careers he also continued to cut lawns and do many a landscaping job to provide for his family.
Joe’s many passions included hunting and fishing; gardening especially his fig and fruit trees, grapes, tomatoes, beans and a large assortment of vegetables. Joe also enjoyed grilling outdoors especially over his hand made barbeque pit on Myrtle Avenue. He is also well known as a MacGyver of sorts building a shed out of scrap and whatever bits and pieces he collected in his travels . The Oxford Dictionaries state that to “MacGyver” is to make or repair something “in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand” that was our Dad to a “T.” Joe was multi-talented and had “street smarts” for someone with limited American schooling. He was an outgoing, sweet soul who loved to talk with his co-workers and neighbors. Those of us who spent any time with him also know he loved to tell stories about his 30+ years participating in various construction projects around the Capital District including the Empire State Plaza, Harriman State Office Campus, numerous highways, Macys at Colonie Center and Crossgates Mall to name just a few. Besides enjoying a glass of “grape juice” aka vino he loved helping his brother-in-law Frank with his home-made wine. Joe was his happiest and enjoyed nothing more than to have a home cooked meal surrounded by his family. He was particularly fond of his only grandchild taking care of her as a baby, then picking her her up after school, and when she was older, cooking her a meal.
Joe is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Catherine; and his three children Frances, Rosanna, and Anthony and his wife Raeann (Favata). Cherished grandfather to Gianna Isabella Rappazzo; dear brother to Carmela Cashin, Antoinette Zaccardo (Vito), Rose Grugan (Peter), sisters-in-law: Angelina Cicero and Rose Ceraolo (both deceased); Silvana Cicero; Maria Furnari, and Concettina Violato, brothers-in-law: Frank Cicero; Salvatore Cicero; (both deceased); Anthony (Nino) Ceraolo; dear friends/sisters Maria and Jeanne Arico (both deceased); Ascenza and Joseph DeAngelis; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to all the helpful neighbors on Locust Street and Maplewood Avenues as well as the home health aides who got to know the family and experienced all our ups and downs together and have helped Joe and Catherine over the past several years.
Funeral services will be held in the Hans Funeral Home, 1088 Western Ave., Albany, Monday morning at 8:15 a.m., and from there to All Saints Catholic Church, 16 Homestead St., Albany (behind CVS) at 9:00 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited, and may call at the funeral home Sunday from 3-5 p.m. Interment will be in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery, Colonie. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.