Joseph Anthony Menicucci was born on March 3, 1948 to Louis and Virginia (LaFleur) Menicucci. He spent his school years in the Boy Scouts, playing baseball, serving as an altar boy, hunting and fishing with his brothers, and often creating chaos for his schoolteachers. He would pick fights with older students so his brother, Alfred, could beat them up; he would secretly listen to the World Series on a transistor radio during class; he managed to convince a group of young ladies to take notes for him in all of his classes because his handwriting was so bad; and, on one occasion, he ran away from school because he had already heard the story his first grade teacher was reading. As everyone frantically searched for him, Joe watched calmly from his hiding spot on the roof of a neighboring house.
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In 1966, Joe graduated from Anaconda Central High School and went to work full-time, eventually settling in at Lutey's Furniture Store. During a copper strike, Joe watched two squirrels play in the middle of one of the main streets of Anaconda for over a half hour and decided the time was right to go to college.
Joe worked three jobs to put himself through college at Montana Tech, where he was an avid Oredigger fan and earned a B.A. in English in 1973. He was the instigator of the "Great Coffee Strike of '71" that ultimately forced administrators to return the price of a cup of coffee at the Tech Student Union to 10 cents after a significant price increase. Joe also often bemoaned the time he earned a 99 percent on a Montana history exam because, in his essay, he did not indicate that Marcus Daly was short of stature and had a moustache. Joe may or may not have been an integral member of an impromptu kazoo band that performed at Tech football games.
In the summer following his graduation, Joe was watching a fire in Uptown Butte when he ran into a college friend, Kristine Williams. She suggested they go out on a date. He was obviously amenable, as the two were married on March 16 of the next year. At this time, Joe worked for KANA radio as an account executive and a sportscaster. Soon after, he was hired by the Anaconda Community Development Agency as a Rehabilitation Officer. In 1978, Kris gave birth to the couples' only child, Joseph (Jr.).
In 1981, Joe was hired by the Community Development Agency of Polson. He eventually became the Agency Director and the City Administrator. While in Polson, Joe also coached Joe Jr.'s little league team and founded the Little Big Men, a fantasy football team he brought with him to Belgrade in 1990 after accepting the position of City Manager.
Joe absolutely loved Belgrade and was passionate about the economic development of the community. He was proud of many of the city's accomplishments during his tenure as City Manager, but was especially proud, despite being a very liberal Democrat, that the City Hall on Thomas B. Quaw Square was built without using a single cent of taxpayer money.
Joe also served on many boards and committees at both the local and state level: the Board of Directors of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) of District IX, the Board of Directors of the Montana Municipal Insurance Authority, the Montana Economic Development Advisory Council, and the Montana Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Advisory Committee, amongst many others.
Joe was an avid New York Yankees fan who shared his passion with his wife, son, his daughter-in-law, Penny, and generally anyone willing to listen or too polite to say they weren't interested. Joe fulfilled a lifelong dream by visiting Yankee Stadium, first on a stadium tour and later for a game at which he watched Derek Jeter pass Joe DiMaggio on the all-time Yankee hit list en route to an 8-3 Yankee victory over the rival Boston Red Sox. Joe was also a fan of the Montana Grizzlies and, especially, Montana State Bobcats. He maintained season tickets for Grizzly football in the late 1980s and for Bobcat football from 1990 to the present. Joe was also a Notre Dame football fan; he had the opportunity to see the Fighting Irish play on two occasions. Joe also loved woodworking but was the king of the unfinished project. One project he did finish, however, was Joe Jr.'s beloved "toy bus." Joe loved listening to music of all types (at great volume) and never missed any of his son's performances, especially with the Montana State University Studio Lab Jazz Band and the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra.
Joseph Anthony Menicucci, 65, loving husband, father, brother, Godfather, uncle, friend, and civil servant, died in his wife's arms on Thursday, May 16, 2013 due to complications resulting from sepsis. He is survived by his wife, Kristine; son, Joseph Jr.; daughter-in-law, Penny Citrola; sister, Ann Marie Jette; great-aunt and Godmother, Ethel Ungaretti; and many brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, and Godchildren. He is proceeded in death by his parents, Louis and Virginia; his brothers, Alfred and Louie; his sisters-in-law, Jo Ellen Loch, Judy Williams, and Sue Menicucci; his nieces, Rebecca Menicucci-Foster, Theresa Anton (Rickert), and Sara Loch; and his best friend, Freddie Dayton.
Visitation will take place Wednesday, May 22 at Dahl Funeral Home at 300 Highland Boulevard in Bozeman from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. A rosary (6:30 to 7 p.m.) and Vigil service (7 to 8 p.m.) will follow. A funeral mass will be held Thursday, May 23 at 11 a.m. at Holy Rosary Parish at 220 W. Main Street in Bozeman with a reception to follow. The service will be webcast for those who want to attend, but cannot. Interment will take place Friday, May 24 at 11 a.m. at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Anaconda and will be followed by reception at the Copper Bowl. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, please consider volunteering your time or making a donation to the program of your choice at the HRDC. The HRDC can be reached by phone at 406-585-4890 or by email at thehrdc.org.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 21, 2013