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Joseph R. Adelizzi


1947 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Joseph R. Adelizzi Obituary
Joseph R Adelizzi

AGE: 70 • Beachwood

Former award-winning Asbury Park Press Sports Editor Joe Adelizzi passed away Saturday at Community Medical Center in Toms River after a long illness. Joe, 70, had suffered from chronic kidney failure and other ailments for several years. Joe was a life-long sports fan, but also an advocate for sports involving children and students. As a sports writer and editor, his greatest joys came from watching interscholastic sports, especially the Toms River High School South baseball state championships in 2002 and 2003 where his son Joe was a team member. He enjoyed passing along his passion and knowledge of baseball as a coach in the Beachwood-Pine Beach Little League for over a decade. He also covered the 1998 Little League World Series championship won by a team from Toms River. Joe grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Pine Beach in 1961. Joe graduated from Toms River High School in 1964. He attended Ocean County College, Trenton State College and St. John's University.

Joe began his newspaper career by accident. His car had been stolen, and he needed to earn money for a new car. He took a job taking sports scores for the Ocean County Observer in 1969. From there he went on to become the sports editor in 1971 and managing editor of the Observer in 1973. He hired many reporters who went on to stand out at the Asbury Park Press and other news organizations across the country. In 1976 he joined The Press as assistant sports editor. He became sports editor in 1978, a position held until 1992 when he became a columnist. Later he joined the news staff and covered general news. During his tenure as sports editor of the Press, the paper won 11 consecutive top 10 ratings from the Associated Press Sports Editors. He served as a regional chairman for the organization for three years and was a speaker at the American Press Institute twice. Two times he was named N.J. Sportswriter of the Year and twice he won writing awards from the APSE and the N.J. Press Association. He was also named to the Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame and the Shore Conference Football Hall of Fame. Adelizzi wrote weekly columns as well and picked high school football results. The highly popular " I Beat Joe" contest was a fan favorite. If a contestant "beat" Joe in their weekly high school football picks, they received an iconic "I Beat Joe" tee shirt, emblazoned with Adelizzi's picture looking beat up and bandaged.

Along with former Press Sports Editor Dick Brinster, he put together the first All-Shore Football Classic. Joe continued to organize the annual event for the next 15 years. Joe was also a driving force in the creation and continuation of the former Rally section, a Saturday sports feature of the Press, which highlighted local high school athletic games, teams and stand-out athletes. But it was a year-long series of columns in 1987-88 about losing weight that endeared Joe to many readers outside sports. Joe chronicled the successes, failures, hopes and disappointments of trying to lose weight. By the end of his career, Joe became a passionate follower of high school wrestling, covering the sport and watching the careers develop of major Shore grapplers. Joe retired from the Press in May 2008 and became a full time sports fan.

Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Lee Cohen Adelizzi, a daughter, Jacqueline and a son Joseph, all of Beachwood; his sister, Donnamaria Adelizzi-Diaz of Pt Pleasant Beach, nieces, nephews and many cousins.

Viewing services will be held at the Mastapeter Funeral Home, 270 Atlantic City Blvd., Bayville from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday March 1. A Funeral Mass will be at St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church at 11 a.m. Thursday March 2 with burial to follow at St. Joseph's Cemetery, Toms River. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made towards a scholarship fund in his name at the Toms River South Alumni Association, 55 Hyers St., Toms River, NJ 08753, attention Dave Correll.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Feb. 27, 2017
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