Joseph DeLuca, English car enthusiast
You can see a picture of Joseph DeLuca's pride and joy at www.gomog.com.
It is the sleek yellow Morgan roadster Mr. DeLuca owned. The Morgan Sports Car Owner's Group posted the picture to honor the memory of Mr. DeLuca, a past president of the local Morgan club and road and rally racer who loved old English cars.
On Sept. 11, Mr. DeLuca died on United Airlines Flight 93 to San Francisco, the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Authorities believe the passengers were trying retake the plane from the hijackers.
A systems business consultant for Warner-Lambert pharmaceuticals in Morris Plains for 23 years, Mr. DeLuca continued with the company after it merged with Pfizer a year ago.
He could have been an artist, his sister Carol Hughes of Belford explained. A series of cartoons posted on the Morgan Web site shows that side of him. They are good-natured drawings featuring "Raymond the Cat," a feline who appears to love cars as much as Mr. DeLuca did.
During holidays, Mr. DeLuca, 52, sent cards with original sketches to family members and friends, mementos his sister plans to display at his memorial services.
He was traveling with his companion, Linda Gronlund of New York. Mr. DeLuca's sister believes her big brother would have been one of those who stood up to fight the hijackers.
The family knew the couple had a trip to California coming up, but thought they were still away at a car event. In fact, Mr. DeLuca had gone to a Morgan meet in Massachusetts. His shiny yellow car took a first-place prize, then Mr. DeLuca came back and caught the plane to California, said his longtime friend Atwell Haines of Succasunna.
As the events of Sept. 11 unfolded, "We kept thinking, we don't have to worry about Joe," his brother-in-law Tom Hughes said. Late that evening, Hughes received a phone call that told him otherwise.
Mr. DeLuca was born in Newark and lived there for 22 years, graduating from Vailsburg High School. He attended Newark College of Engineering and graduated from Jersey City State College. He also lived in Morristown and Sparta. He moved to Ledgewood three years ago.
He is the son of Joseph and Felicia (nee Campanella) DeLuca of Union.
A memorial gathering will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at the Laskowski Funeral Home, also known as the Union Funeral Home, 1600 Stuyvesant Ave., in Union. A memorial Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Holy Spirit Church, Morris Avenue and Suburban Road in Union.
Profile by Joan Whitlow published in THE STAR-LEDGER.