Joseph James Sabella

November 28, 1932November 13, 2020

Joseph James Sabella of Southport, NC died at the age of 88 in the SECU Hospice House of Brunswick in Bolivia, NC on November 13, 2020. Joseph was born to James and Fanny (Vetrano) Sabella of Glendale, L.I., New York on November 28, 1932. After his father’s death, he moved to Connecticut at age seven with his mother and brother John and lived in Connecticut until moving to Southport in 2004. Joe served his country honorably during the Korean war in the Air Force.

Joe is survived by his wife of 58 years; Judith of Southport; daughters Pamela Morris and husband Craig of Flemington, WV, Sandra Sabella of Rocky Hill, CT, and Susan Sabella and fiancée Peter Kelly of Coventry, CT. Also brothers John Sabella and wife Brenda of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Michael Rini and wife Sandy of Knoxville, TN; sister Shirley Stewart of So. Windsor, CT; grandsons Scott Wilson and his wife Wendy of Bridgeport, WVA; Brian Deane, Jr of Collinsville, CT , and many nephews and nieces.

Joe’s many interests included flying; he had his pilot’s license and as a member of a Connecticut Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) built a single engine, open cockpit plane. He also built an 18’ lobster boat equipped with a diesel engine, which he and wife Judy used fishing for lobster in New Haven, CT Harbor. Judy and Joe were also avid snowmobilers for many years in Connecticut.

Joseph’s cremated remains will be interred at a later date with Judy’s in his wife’s family plot in Terryville, CT. There is no service planned at this time due to the Covid pandemic.

Online condolences may be made at

Peacock - Newnam & White Funeral and Cremation Service, Southport, North Carolina.



No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Show Your


Joseph James Sabella

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sandy Sabella

November 15, 2020

I have so many years of memories of Dad, all jumbled together.

The salon in West Hartford. The airplane in the attic. The boats - all named Mabby Todd. When he tested his imported Italian diesel engine in the garage before installing it, he sang, “barum barum barum barum” along with it. Oh, the singing! Dad had an awful voice, but it didn’t stop him from singing along with classical music or opera, which he loved. If you saw and heard a small lobster boat some time in the 1980’s chugging down the Branford River blasting, “Ride of the Valkyries” - that was my Dad.

Uncle Michael wrote that Mom is an excellent cook and so she is, but so was Dad! Unfortunately for us kids, he tended to use every dish in the house and then we got to do the dishes. The cleanup after the pig roast was… epic.

So many memories. Dad taught me about perspective, and how to use a draftsman’s compass, and how airfoils work. Dad at the Southington house, quacking to call the ducks up from the brook behind the house. Dad packing live lobsters and a bottle of wine in my luggage on a bus trip to college.

I thought it was a joke when Mom and Dad said they were moving to North Carolina. They turned a trashed foreclosure property into the sweetest little house, and they were very happy there. Mom told a story that a clerk a Lowe’s saw her name on her credit card and said, “Oh! You must be Joe’s wife!” - because he spent so much time there buying tools and supplies. I loved going down to NC for the holidays. Dad and I watched so many Mythbusters episodes together (though the TV was way too loud). Getting Chinese take out (extra duck sauce) and NEVER using the coffee mug labeled, “Captain”. Hugs at the airport.

I think it was the happiest time of his life.

Michael Rini

November 15, 2020

Joe was my oldest brother. As a child, he taught me many things. Later in life, Sandy and I bought a vacation home in the same neighborhood as Joe and Judy. We then spent 10 wonderful years together as brothers.

Joe was very proud of his service in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean war. He was a mechanic on a ground crew that kept a fleet of large transport planes reliably flying. Their mission was to evacuate our wounded troops from Korea and then transport them to military hospitals for treatment in the U.S.

He also loved to build things. When he scratch built his small single engine airplane, I remember him hand forming and finishing the plane’s propeller to his exacting standards. While living in Southport, if he saw an uncommon plane land at the nearby airport, he would talk his way on to the field so he could get a closer look at it and perhaps, speak with the owner. He was a man who could tell an engaging story about his many life experiences.

He loved his wife Judy very deeply. They traveled down life’s road together for 58 closely shared years. She is an excellent cook and Joe looked forward to every meal she made for him.

Avis Sesssoms

November 14, 2020

Joe was great man who always took care of others. He watched over my beach place as if it were his own. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in peach until we see him again. From Avis Sessoms and her family.


Learn more about the Sabella name