Niagara Gazette

Obituaries

March 13, 2011

Joseph J. Masella

LEWISTON — Jesus welcomed another of the greatest generation into His loving arms. Joseph J. Masella, local boxing historian and native of Niagara Falls, NY, passed away on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston, NY, at the age of 85. Raised on Center Avenue in the city’s north end, he was the son of the late Antonio and Antoinetta (Roccasecca) Masella. Joe attended local Niagara Falls schools, including the former Trott Vocational. He graduated from Niagara Falls High School and later attended the University of Buffalo. During World War II Joe served in the United States Navy’s amphibious forces. He was involved in the campaigns of the South Pacific and took part in the invasion of Okinawa. Upon his honorable discharge, he was awarded the WWII Victory Ribbon, American Campaign Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Ribbon with Two Stars, Navy Occupation Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and Honor Service lapel button.  

On October 21, 1950, Joseph married Helen (Campanaro) Masella in St. Joseph’s Church in Niagara Falls, NY.  Joe worked at the former Bell Aircraft in Wheatfield, NY and Labor’s Local #91 in Niagara Falls, where he served as an elected official. Joe retired as an insurance agent for Metropolitan Life. Mr. Masella was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus Council #247 in Niagara Falls.

Joe’s passion and interest in boxing began at an early age. As a young man he boxed locally at the amateur level and went on to become a trainer for notable local National PAL Champions. He served as team manager for the Ontario Champions Boxing in the Canadian Nationals. He also refereed for many years and became a licensed NYS professional judge. Joe judged several notable future world champions, as well as events such as the National and Junior Golden Gloves, US Olympic tryouts, the Empire State Games and international meets. Joe was a longtime member of the USA Boxing Federation and honorary Life Member of Boxing Ontario.

In addition to his wife of 60 years, Mr. Masella is survived by his four children, Kathleen J. Lloyd of Niagara Falls, NY, Anthony J. (Susan) Masella of Glendale, AZ, Mary Ann Masella of Niagara Falls, NY and Cynthia E. (John T.) Walker of Wheatfield, NY; five grandchildren, Ashleigh Lloyd, Steven Lloyd, Megan Lloyd, John Walker and Matthew Walker; one sister, Gloria (late Joseph) Scibilia of Wheatfield, NY and several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was also predeceased by one sister, Susie (late Dario) Donimari.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday from 4-8 PM at the M.J. COLUCCI AND SON NIAGARA FUNERAL CHAPEL, 2730 Military Road, Niagara Falls, NY, where funeral services will begin on Thursday, March 17th at 9:15 AM, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM at St. Vincent De Paul Parish at Prince of Peace Church, 1055 North Military Road, Niagara Falls, NY. Entombment with Military Honors will be held in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Lewiston, NY.                                                                                        The Knights of Columbus Council #247 will conduct memorial services on Tuesday at 7:00 PM at the funeral chapel.                                                       Visit www.mjcoluccifuneralchapel.com for on-line guest register.

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