American Veteran 01
Official Obituary of

Joseph "Joe" Frank Bertone

May 3, 1934 ~ March 11, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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Joseph "Joe" Bertone Obituary

Joseph (Joe) Frank Bertone, born on May 3, 1934, passed away on Monday, March 11, 2024, at the age of 89 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Joe was born to Italian immigrant parents, Francesco (Frank) and Caterina (Romeo) Bertone. They came to the United States to make a better life for their children; Joe and his sisters, Rose and Mary, were the recipients of that better life. None of them spoke English during their early years, until a tutor from school came to the house to teach them English. Joe was a very proud Italian American.

Because of the kindness of that tutor, Joe excelled, graduating from South High School in Youngstown, Ohio in 1952. Shortly after high school, he joined the Navy, becoming a Hospital Corpsman. He was eventually sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the Korean War, where he was put in charge of taking care of babies in the nursery — a story we heard time and time again. He was very proud of his military service.

Joe was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1956 and enrolled in Youngstown State University. He was the first in his family to graduate from college and held Bachelor of Science degrees in Business Administration and Education with an emphasis on History.

Joe had a short stint as a teacher at the Fairfield School for Boys in Lancaster, Ohio where he taught Ninth Grade Math, English, and History.

Nine months into his teaching career, his Godfather, Judge Joseph P. Mallone, asked if he wanted to become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Jefferson, Ohio. Joe accepted the offer, which started a 30-year career in Ashtabula County Juvenile Court. He eventually became the Court Director and then a Magistrate until he retired in 1996. He served as Magistrate under Judges Calvin Hutchins, Ronald Varckette, and Charles Hague.

This transition to Jefferson led Joe to meet a stylish, sunglasses-wearing, secretary, Patricia Anne Alexander, in Juvenile Court. He eventually proposed to Pat in a very non-romantic way, “So, it’s been three years, and I suppose you want to get married.” Surprisingly, she said yes to that proposal, and they were married on July 13, 1968.

Most people knew Joe as a gruff, tell-it-like-it-is personality. He often said, “If I didn’t like it, I would tell you.” But under that gruff exterior, he had the heart of a servant and gave of himself to everyone in need.

Joe served in the following capacities in the community of Jefferson and in Ashtabula County: President of the Northeast Ohio Youth Commission; President of Ashtabula County Mental Health Association; Board Member for the Mental Health Clinic of Ashtabula County; Charter Member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Ashtabula; President of the Jefferson Exchange Club; Charter Member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lakeshore Lodge #114; Lifetime Member of the Knights of Columbus #4212 in Jefferson, Ohio (3rd  Degree); Member of the Knights of Columbus, Leo J. Kane Assembly (4th Degree); Member of the Parish Council and Finance Committee for St. Joseph’s Church in Jefferson, Ohio; and Member of the American Legion – Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Joe was a faithful member of St. Joe’s in Jefferson, continuing to pay his tithe to the church even after leaving Ohio. He was a current member of St. Stephen’s church in Sanford, North Carolina.

Joe not only gave of himself in his community, but also gave of himself to his family. When his mother suffered a stroke, he lived with her for two years, taking care of her personal daily needs until she passed away. When his wife, Patricia Bertone, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he took care of her as well.

When Pat died in 2006, Joe came to live with his daughter, Eva, and took over the role of chauffeur for his three grandchildren. Joe drove them to endless football practices and games, numerous basketball practices and games … got up early in the morning and drove them all to seminary classes that started at 6:30 a.m. He took them to school in the morning and picked them up in the afternoon. He was an all-star grandfather and loved his grandchildren to no end.

When his granddaughter, Sammi, got married, he was determined to dance the Tarantella with her — and dance, he did. He was so excited for his great-grandsons to be born and flew out to Utah to see them even though he was not a fan of flying.

Joe had a special place in his heart for his grandson, Bobby. During the past few years, he had Bobby drive him around to get his hair cut, his taxes done, to church for confession, and to Wal-Mart. During those trips, he regaled Bobby with tales from his time in the service and off-color stories. He peppered them all with a little swearing here and there.

He was thrilled this past summer when his youngest grandson, Marcus, got married and even more thrilled when they welcomed their first child this year, a great granddaughter. The day before he passed, he attended the baptism of his first great-granddaughter and was happier than you can imagine.

On the day he passed, he said he felt fine. Joe was never one to complain about his health. He chatted nonstop with his daughter about politics, his grandchildren, student loans, and life in general. He was talking right up until the moment he died, true to his personality until the very end.

Joe is survived by his only child, Eva Marie Bertone-McGann, and son-in-law, William McGann. He shared a home with them for the past 18 years … 11 in Leesburg, Virginia, and the past 7 in Sanford, North Carolina.

He is also survived by his granddaughter, Samantha Kemp, her husband, John Kemp, and his two great-grandsons, Jude and Griffin Kemp … all of West Jordan, Utah; his grandson, Robert McGann, and his love, KarLee Becker, both of Wilmington, NC; his grandson, Marcus McGann, his wife, Lalaine McGann, and great-granddaughter, Audrey McGann … all of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

He also leaves behind five nieces (Kathy Arnal, Mary Angela Delino, Andrea Briya, Janice Ligenza, and Marilyn Kuboff) and two nephews (David Marciella and Albert Alexander) … all who loved him and called him “Uncle Joe-Joe.”

His wife, Patricia Anne (Alexander) Bertone, preceded him in death on April 14, 2006. He had just mentioned that it was almost 18 years since she passed away and that he still missed her.

Also preceding him in death were his parents and his two sisters, Rose (Andrew) Marciella and Mary (Rocco) Alexander.

There are a few people that were very close to Joe and helped him tremendously that deserve many thanks:

Stephen Roman, a friend, neighbor, and member of St. Stephen’s who faithfully brought Joe the sacrament every single Sunday for four years. You will not meet a more Christ-like man than Stephen. He visited Joe each week, bringing him church news and fellowship. Joe looked forward to those visits every Sunday. Thank you, Stephen; you are much loved.

For the past several years, Joe needed some home-health care. His nurse, Lindsay Gunter, helped him keep his dignity in his personal care needs. She provided not only nursing care but also kindness and friendship. In addition, she provided emotional support to Joe’s daughter, Eva, coaching her on caregiving for Joe. Without Lindsay, Joe could not have stayed living at home. Thank you, Lindsay; you are an angel.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, Joe attended the Lee County Enrichment Center in Sanford, North Carolina. He absolutely loved riding the bus every morning, heckling the drivers, asking personal questions of the other passengers, and socializing with the people who attended the center each day. The staff at the Senior Center have provided him with much enrichment during the last seven years and provided Eva with caregiving support. Many thanks to the staff and patrons who provided enjoyment to Joe every day.

Finally, and most importantly, thank you to Bill McGann for sharing your home with your hard-to-get-along-with father-in-law. There aren’t many men who would do that. You are a great man and a loving husband to Joe’s daughter, Eva.

Joe knew and loved our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He could be heard saying his prayers every night before bed, praying for his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren by name. He sang along with Mass every Sunday as he watched it on TV. He was very concerned about making his confession during this season of Lent and was able to have a visit with his Priest to make his last confession and receive an anointing just a few days before his passing.

He and his daughter, Eva, shared a tender moment days before his passing, expressing their love and appreciation for one another. He knew he was loved. It brings great peace and comfort to know that he is now with so many more people that also love him and most importantly, with his beloved Lord Jesus.

And that’s the truth. (A Joe colloquialism)

Calling hours will be held on Saturday March 23, 2024, from 10:00a-12:00p at Fleming and Billman Funeral Home, 49 W. Jefferson Street in Jefferson, Ohio. Mass will be at St. Joseph's Church in Jefferson at 12:30p with burial to immediately follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Geneva, Ohio.

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Calling Hours
March 23, 2024

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Jefferson Home of Fleming & Billman Funeral Directors
49 W. Jefferson St.
Jefferson, OH 44047

Funeral Mass
March 23, 2024

12:30 PM
St. Joseph Calasanctius Church
32 E. Jefferson St.
Jefferson, OH 44047

Interment following funeral service
March 23, 2024

2:00 PM
Evergreen Cemetery , Geneva, Ohio
South Broadway
Geneva, OH 44041


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