February 25, 1933 – November 15, 2020
Joseph Velez, 87, of Long Island, New York and Ft. Myers, Florida, passed away November 15, 2020 at Sonata Memory Care in Boca Raton, Florida. Joseph, (aka, Joey, JoJo, Daddy, Dad, Poppi) is survived by his five children Donna (Cioffi), Michael, Joey, Maria (Abruzzo)and Crissi (Castaneda) from his first marriage to Sadie Velez; his daughter-in-law Regina (Brab) and sons-in-law Greg (Abruzzo) and Mark (Castaneda); his stepson John (DiFillippi) and stepdaughter Marlena (Furman) from his second marriage to his beloved Arline; and his 16 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
Joe grew up on the streets of the Lower East Side of New York and at the age of 8, became the “man” of the family to his Mother, Lucy, and two sisters, Mary and Esther. He knew what hard work could achieve at an early age, from shining shoes to odd jobs in the neighborhood. He always told his children that what saved him from going down the wrong path was his connection to the Boys Club of New York. It was here that he found guidance, learned to box, had a place to take a warm shower, and developed close relationships with childhood friends. Joe’s strong work ethic and desire to provide for his family gave him a successful, lifetime career as an insurance salesman at Prudential, where he won many awards and accolades. He later in life went back to school to become a successful Financial Advisor to many clients as well as a teacher at Hofstra University in Financial Planning. Joe truly was an American Dream success story.
Everyone loved Joe and he made friends wherever he went. Joe loved living life, volunteering, coaching sports, traveling, the arts, learning, dancing, shaking hands and talking to pretty much anyone, playing poker, eating his sweets, always carrying lots of cash to either tip people or give money to the grandkids, and speaking Spanish or Sicilian whenever possible. He always wanted to know how you were doing and most importantly, loved spending time with his family. Joe was a devout Catholic and his faith was very important to him. In his last week on earth, his children were gathered by his side, holding his hand so he knew his life legacy was with him every step of the way.
Memorial service at St. Columbkille Catholic Church, 12171 Iona Road, Fort Myers (239) 489-3973 will be held at a future date in 2021 when it is safe to travel and gather in large groups. His memory may be honored with donations to The Boys Club of New York https://www.bcny.org/support/donate/ or American Parkinson Disease Association https://www.apdaparkinson.org/
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
November 28, 2020
Dear Donna and family,
I'm so very sorry for your loss. I remember your Dad, from when you lived in Coral Springs. He was a lovely man, very personable, and also very handsome. May he rest in peace. Prayers for your and your family, cherish the good memories. Love, Linda Del Risco
November 19, 2020
Dear Donna & family,
Ed, my father Carl and I am so sorry for your loss. My Dad, Carl was friendly with Joe. He remembered and liked Joe for his gentle , personable and kind manner. They were pool partners at Park Summit and socialized often. We share in your grief and pray for you all that God heals, provides peace & comfort during this difficult time. With love and prayers, Claudia and Edward Beardsworth and Carl Kurtgis
November 17, 2020
Donna and Family,
We are so sorry for your loss.
Kathy and Marty Weinstein