Joseph Massa Jr. (1923 - 2013)

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Joseph E. Massa, Jr.

MANSFIELD: Joseph E. Massa, Jr., 90, died on December 28, 2013 at Mansfield MedCentral Hospital.

Mr. Massa was born August 24, 1923 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Marie (Becker) and Joseph E. Massa, Sr. He graduated from St. Peter's High School in Mansfield with the class of 1941 and studied business at Ohio University before serving his country with the Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Upon completion of his military service, Mr. Massa co-owned the Modern Furniture Company on South Main Street. He closed the furniture store in 1968, retaining a life-long appreciation for good furniture design. Mr. Massa then embarked on a successful career as a banker. Upon retirement as Vice-President of 1st National / Key Bank, he was elected to the Board of Directors at Mechanics Bank and served as Director Emeritus until his death.

He was a dedicated family man. He married Mary Elizabeth Knapp in 1947 at St. Peter's Catholic Church. They raised their two children in a loving home. Mary died suddenly in 1966, a sad time for Joe. In 1967, he re-married Betty L. Berno, a widow with four young sons. Family lore states that on one of their first dates, he asked "Did you say four boys?" and never looked back, loving and raising the Berno boys as his own. In their retirement years, Betty and Joe enjoyed well-deserved travel abroad and winter months in the Grand Cayman.

Community-minded, Mr. Massa was an involved member of St. Peter's Catholic Church, Westbrook Country Club, Woodland Club, YMCA, Serra Club, Knights of Columbus, and the Mansfield Men's Garden Club winning a Grand Champion for his dahlias. As a volunteer, he assisted Friendly House, Conard House, Boy Scout Troop 121, Mansfield Memorial Homes and Kingwood Center. An avid sportsman, he enjoyed golf, tennis, swimming, skiing and scuba diving.

After 39 years of marriage, Mrs. Massa passed away in 2006; Mr. Massa spent the remainder of his life as an active member of the Wedgewood Estates assisted living community where he planted and maintained beautiful flower boxes. During this time, he used the internet to stay connected, reading online newspapers and never missing an opportunity to send an e-mail greeting card to a family member celebrating a special occasion.

Abundantly blessed by his presence in their lives, he is survived by two sisters, Rosie (George) Cashell of Mansfield and Carol (Jim) Zimmerman of Pittsford, NY; daughter, Claudia (Massa) Gallagher of Cleveland and her former husband, John Gallagher; son and daughter-in-law, Joseph H. and Susan Massa of Mansfield; four step-sons and daughters-in-law, Donald and Kimberly Berno of Westerville, Ohio, William and Virginia Berno of Williamsburg, VA, Mark and Bobette Berno of Plymouth, MN, Bruce and Karen Berno of Cincinnati, Ohio; 21 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandson; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Joe Massa was a kind, considerate and unassuming man who put others before himself and would probably be uncomfortable with the accolades he so richly deserves. Well done, Papa Joe, rest in peace.

Friends may visit from 5-8 p.m. Friday, January 3, 2014 at the Diamond Street Home of Wappner Funeral Directors, 98 S. Diamond St., Mansfield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in St. Peter's Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Mansfield Catholic Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Friendly House or St. Peter's Church Msgr. Dunn Foundation for Education.

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Wappner Funeral Directors & Crematory
98 S Diamond St
Mansfield, OH 44902
(419) 522-5211
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Published in the News Journal on Jan. 1, 2014
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