May 31, 1931 – November 25, 2019
On Monday, November 25th, 2019, Joseph (Joe) Vella, loving father, husband and grandad, passed away at the age of 88 years old. Joseph was born in Xewkija, Gozo, Malta on May 31st, 1931. Joe came to the US at the age of 21 once his cousin, who lived in NYC, told him about an opportunity for work. He immediately borrowed a shirt and tie for a passport picture and booked his ticket to the United States of America. He worked odd jobs, tirelessly, for 7 days a week to make a name for himself and became an American citizen the first moment he had the opportunity to because of his deep devotion to this country.
After 5 years of living in the US, he returned to Malta and met Josephine Portelli, his soon to be wife. Three months later, on September 15th, 1957, Jospehine Portelli and Joseph Vella were married.Together they raised 3 sons, John, Frank and Steven, and one daughter, Yvonne.
Joe had a passion for working with his hands. Whether it be helping his children renovate their homes, contributing to the construction of the Church of St John the Baptist (Rotunda of Xewkija) or jumping on his tractor to mow the lawn upstate, he was always prepared to work in order to help his family and community. He loved spending time with his family around the dinner table and never passed on the opportunity to taste test his wife’s desserts. He was known for his quick wit, incredible work ethic, and most importantly, love of family. He will be eternally missed by all those around him.
Joseph is survived by his wife Josephine, his four children, John, Frank, Steven & Yvonne, and his grandchildren, Cynthia, Gabrielle, Joseph, Alex & Katherine. A wake will be held in his memory on Tuesday, November 26th from 5-9pm at Walter B. Cooke funeral home. Followed by a funeral mass on Wednesday, November 27th at 10:00am at St Joseph’s Church; located at 404 E. 87th Street, New York, NY.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.walterbcooke.net for the Vella family.