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Joseph Edward Vendola

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Joseph Edward Vendola Obituary
Norwich - A lifelong resident of Norwich, Joseph Edward Vendola passed away on Aug. 9, 2014, just eight days short of his 95th birthday.

Born on Aug. 17, 1919, he was the son of the late Thomas Vendola and Teresa (Greco) Vendola.

He married the love of his life, Regina K Pendzich on Dec. 13, 1941, who predeceased him. He was a devoted husband and father. We wish our dad everlasting peace and happiness now that he is reunited with his wife.

He served from 1940 to 1946, in the U.S. Navy, deploying to North Africa, southern France, and the Pacific theater, serving aboard the USS Tillman DD-641, USS Truxtun DD-229, USS Wyoming BB-32, and the USS Florence Nightingale AP-70.

On Feb. 18, 1942, while serving aboard the destroyer USS Truxtun DD-229, the ship ran aground during severe weather off the coast of Newfoundland and broke apart on the rugged coastline. One hundred ten members of the ships crew perished, however thanks to the courageous residents of the communities of Lawn and St. Lawrence, Joe was among the 46 survivors and remained the last surviving member of this tragedy. To this day the gracious people of St. Lawrence still honor these men on the anniversary of this event and continue to maintain contact with Joe.

Sixty-five years after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy, Joe was awarded 10 overdue honors for his service to his country by local and state officials during a ceremony at VFW Post 594. The honors include the Navy Good Conduct Medal, Navy WWII Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal with bronze A, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze star, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Discharge Button, Honorable Service Lapel Pin (Ruptured Duck), and the DD Form 215.

After his military service he was employed as an automotive mechanic at Jordan Auto and Card & McDonald Motors in Norwich. He retired in 1983 from Electric Boat in Groton as a quality inspector.

Together with his wife, he was active in the Rose City Senior Center and the local chapter of the AARP. He remained an active member of VFW Post 594 in Norwich, where he always enjoyed meeting with his good friends.

He is survived by his daughter, Linda Mayor and husband, Bob, of Lisbon; son, Thomas Vendola and wife, Toni, of Norwich; brother, James Vendola of Florida; sisters, Frances Nadreau of Massachusetts, Rose Hull of Colchester; and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by a sister, Anna Wawrzynowicz of Norwich.

We would like to express our thank you to the Norwichtown Rehabilitation and Care Center for the loving and compassionate care he received in the months at the end of his life. We thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Woyasz & Son Funeral Home, 141 Central Ave, Norwich. Burial with presentation of military honors will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery. Calling hours will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and also from 9 to 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Richard E. Hourigan Memorial VFW Post 594. 30 Connecticut Ave., Norwich, CT 06360.
Published in The Day on Aug. 12, 2014
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