McCracken Funeral Home

1500 Morris Ave, Union, NJ


Joseph Baranello

February 18, 1939June 23, 2020

Joseph ("Joey") Baranello passed away on June 23, 2020, peacefully and in the company of those he loved. Joe was born in Newark, New Jersey on February 18, 1939 to Alexander and Angelina (nee Avella) Baranello. He was married to his devoted wife, Marie (nee Meola) for over 59 years, but they were inseparable for even longer—he was her date for her senior prom. He is survived by Marie and a host of relatives who loved him fiercely. Foremost among them were his two children, Phyllis Ann Francis and Joseph Anthony, and their respective spouses, Thomas Francis and Aleksandar Milovanovic. Phyllis and Tommy gave him his four most-valued treasures, his grand-children. To them he will forever be their beloved Poppy: Carissa ("Chunky Cheeks") and her husband Peter Aricola, Thomas Jr. ("Tommy Boy"), Elaina ("Lainie Kuh-zany") and Adrianna (“Aigey Paigey”). Joey is also survived by three of his siblings, Alexander, John and Barbara, and their spouses, Jean, Suzanne and John. He was also survived by his brothers-in-law, Nicholas and Thomas, who was the spouse of his predeceased sister-in-law Phyllis Gamtako, as well as by his numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Tragically, Joey lost his beloved sister Victoria, her husband Lawrence and his nephew John to COVID-19 just two months ago. Joey and Marie made Union their home from the start of their marriage, and resided in the same house for the rest of his life. Joe worked for over forty years for Gross & Hecht Trucking, for whom he worked as a short-haul tractor-trailer driver. Notably, Joe worked to live rather than lived to work, and so welcomed retirement eagerly. Tending to his garden and lawn was one of his many joys in retirement. But really, that wasn't the half of it. Joey particularly loved music, and his taste in it was quite eclectic: whether it was 50s doo-wop, 60s soul and Motown, 70s rock like Queen, and female vocalists throughout, Joey would wake up his kids and grandkids with the bass turned up to max. Abiding by Marie's pleas to turn the volume down would not last for more than a few minutes. Back in the 1970s, Joey was a frequent arm-chair winner of “Name That Tune.” He also was everyone’s go-to movie critic and spent countless hours watching a variety of movies from all genres. Above all else, Joey loved and valued his family, both immediate and extended. Joey was a tender, devoted husband to Marie, and never denied taking her anywhere she requested. Most recently, they enjoyed their weekly trips to the casino. He was also the quintessential fun dad, accompanying his children on their field trips, organizing their birthday parties and taking them to Great Adventure, as much for himself as for them. Throughout their childhood he consistently reinforced always remaining a “big kid at heart.” At his favorite family event of the year, the Baranello Christmas Eve party that the family has held every year from 1968 onward, Joey and his sister Vicky could be found leading a chorus of grand nieces and nephews in singing to their favorite carols, and dancing to, well, anything. But perhaps most of all, Joey treasured being a grandfather and consistently reinforced the meaning of unconditional love. He adored his grandchildren and instilled into each of them a piece of himself. Aside from showing them what “real music” sounds like, their most frequent outings were to places including the movies, racetrack, amusement parks, and just about anywhere else his grandchildren requested him to take them. Down the shore, they enjoyed crabbing, feeding the “duckies,” going to the “broadwalk” and singing on top of their lungs, winning tickets at Lucky Leos, and taking bike rides to the local ice cream parlor. He was well known among his grandchildren’s friends and even helped to coach his grandson’s basketball team. Although he was taken from our lives, unexpectedly and suddenly, the legacy he left behind was truly legendary. He will forever be missed, and his soul will continue to live on through each person he had a tremendous impact on. As Yoda said, “When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be. The Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance at the funeral is by invitation only. The family wishes to remind invited guests that they must wear masks and abide by social distancing rules, and that they may wish to bring hand sanitizer in any event. He will be laid to rest at Marlboro Cemetery where an outdoor memorial—again, by invitation only due to social distancing needs—will be held on Monday June 29th, 2020 at 1 pm.


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


Joseph Baranello

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Howard Seidenberg

June 28, 2020

I became friends with Joe and his family back in the 50's. I'm sorry I didn't somehow keep in touch with Joe over the years. However when I heard of his death from another old friend Richard DePaul, I became quite upset.
We had many fun times on 14th street. None of us had money so we just enjoyed hanging out together.
Joe was someone I looked up and I'm so happy he had such a wonderful life with his wife Marie and his beautiful family.
I'm sorry to hear of his death. RIP my old friend
Howard Seidenberg

Cheryl Graziano

June 28, 2020

My condolences to Marie and Phyllis Ann and Joey and the rest of the family .Wonderful memories of Joe and was so wonderful to me and always made me laugh and always great conversations .I know he will be surely missed by such a wonderful family .Rest in peace 🙏🏻Cheryl 🙏🏻

Gina Petrillo

June 27, 2020

RIP Joe. 💔🙏♥️