In Memory

Joseph Papa

Joseph Papa

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08/29/17 01:03 PM #1    

Robert Erianne

I only spent my senior year of high school at Bogota and during that year Joe was my best friend.  We spent a lot of time together and he also got to know some of my friends from Leonia.  We lost touch through the years and only traded occasional Emails. In the winter of 2016 Jeff Mohn pulled together a lunch for a bunch of the guys at Vitale's (Delia's) in Teaneck.  Joe was there and it was the first time I'd seen him in 50 years.  I can't describe how good it was to talk to him and catch up on each other's lives.  He told me about his medical issues  and after that lunch I would often think about him and  pray for his full recovery.  He was scheduled to be at the mini-reunion in May, but fell ill and couldn't attend.  Joe is one of those people I will never forget and I'm happy for the opportunity to have known him and been his friend.

08/29/17 01:10 PM #2    

Jeffrey Mohn

This is the email I received from Gary Minck on 8/27/17   --Jeff--

Ciao Jeff - Susan and I are currently at our home in Southern Italy 🇮🇹 where we spend most of our time now. I tried calling you in the US earlier today on a phone number I found on the internet (201-261-1219) - but there was no answer - so I didn't leave a voice mail.
Joe and Anna Marie came to South Carolina to visit Susan and I last November and we had a wonderful time together (with another friend we went to college with). I'm blessed that I was able to spend several quality days with him during that visit. At that time he was doing OK - but in March during one of the required tests it showed the Cancer markers had become elevated again! Unfortunately- the cells had metastasized to his lungs 🤐- he was at Mt. Sinai in NYC and received chemo- but he had such adverse reactions to the treatment - that in April - he made the (very brave) decision to forego further treatment and let nature run its course. I was blessed to speak with him a few times by phone (from Italia) and almost daily by email - during this tragic journey. He was at peace with his decision and the inevitable outcome - we often reminisced about BHS football - track and field and also dating and growing up in a more sane America! His only regret was having to leave Anna Marie and Christina!
We never spoke of how long his life would last - but I prayed daily for his peace, strength and earnestly hoped I could see him again in November when Susan and I will return to the US. I considered making a trip back now - but kept vacillating - one day to another - when at 2:09 this morning I received - the heartbreaking email from his daughter Christina.
I'm glad you guys (and some of the football 🏈 guys) got together this winter - he told me about your visit and how much he enjoyed seeing you all! 😊
I'm comforted that you guys got my correspondence and hope you can post the info on the BHS site as I wasn't sure my email posts etc got through and I was having trouble with the password.
At this time there will be no funeral - wakes - etc. There may be some type of Memorial Service at a later date.
Let's stay in touch - this has been a hard day for me - my very best friends life comes to an end - and we all start thinking about our own mortality - but with life comes death and we certainly had some great times together the the BHS Class of '64 and I was blessed to maintain my close friendship with Joe in college and throughout our life.
Peace 🐑 - Gary


08/29/17 01:55 PM #3    

Jeffrey Mohn

Joe was one of those guys who made friends easily with his good-natured sense of humor and friendly smile. I'm going to reminisce about a couple of good times and laughs we had.

Our first football game of senior year was against Pascack Valley, which they won in a squeaker 60-0. Joe was playing defensive back, and we all got run over pretty badly. But in the locker room after the game, he recounted his story of the game. After each time PV scored, Joe said "They're not going to get by me this time!"  just before he humorouusly described getting run over again by the freight train of their offense. It was his ability to laugh at the unlaughable that made us all laugh after that tough day. Pete Altieri, however, wasn't smiling.

For a while, we took up surfing at the Jersey Shore (that's laughable in itself) and we strapped our 10 foot Hobie boards (remember those?) to the top of my '55 Ford and went looking for the wild surf. One day on the Garden State Parkway, ( I think Gary was with us that day) two surfboards detached themselves from the roof of the car and went airborne! It could have caused a terrible accident, but luckily, the boards landed in the grass median. No harm. 

Another time, Joe was driving with me as passenger when this great new song came on the radio that we heard for the first time.  Joe got so into it and was jiving along with it not paying too much attention to where we were going, that we barely missed driving right into a tree. The song was Wolly Bully, and every time I hear it I think of Joe.

It was so good to once again share these memories and laugh with Joe when we got together this past winter.

Anyhow, Rest in Peace old friend.  Like you said "It was a good run"

08/29/17 04:38 PM #4    

Margaret Peters (Johnston)

It was so nice reading how you guys enriched each others' lives.  Rest in peace now, Joe.

08/29/17 05:56 PM #5    

Jeffrey Mohn

Joseph S. Papa Obituary

Joseph S. Papa

Papa, Joseph S., passed away on August 27, 2017 peacefully at the age of 71 surrounded by his wife Annemarie Papa, daughter Christina Barkstedt and son-in-law Travis R. Barkstedt. The cause was Ampullary Cancer. His last words were "It's been a good ride. No regrets. Grateful for so many friends."

After retiring he pursued his passion for gardening which was instilled by his great grandmother Rose. He became a master gardener and took the position of Horticultural Consultant at Rutgers University which he loved. He always had an inquisitive mind, added value, offered meaningful advice and positivity. He offered a lot to his wife, daughter, son-in-law and friends. He enjoyed gardening, fishing, tennis, paddle, and traveling to Germany. We will all miss his laugh and wonderful sense of humor.

Family and friends are welcome to visit on Wednesday 2-4 & 7-9pm at Volk Leber Funeral Home, 789 Teaneck Road, Teaneck.

Private cremation will follow.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Garretson Forge and Farm, PO Box 1155 4-02 River Road Fairlawn, NJ 07410.

08/29/17 06:35 PM #6    

Robert Berry

It was June 1960 when I first met Joe. His family had just moved to Bogota to a home just a few houses up Maplewood Avenue from School 3. I still remember that first day when he walked over to the front of the school. We introduced ourselves and became instant friends. An unusual coincidence was his younger brother Michael was in the same class as my sister Lois. And when our parents met they too became friends and often vacationed together. 

I hardly saw Joe after BHS since our college locations were several states and several hundred miles apart. Sadly, the last time I saw him was at my mother's funeral in 2010 in Toms River. Joe was a great guy and a good friend to many of us. Joe, we all will miss you but will remember the good times we had back at BHS.

08/29/17 09:53 PM #7    

Nelson Gomm

During our senior year of track, I remember Joe's relentless effort to master the pole vault.  One of the toughest field events, he eventually mastered it - despite the hundreds of falls from 12 feet up sometimes landing on the bar (ouch!!).  I had more respect for Joe's perseverance than I can recall for anyone I had met in my later years. I wish I had shared that thought with Joe in 1964. You've made the final jump!!  RIP Joe....

12/07/17 12:18 PM #8    

Edward Bergonzi

Obviously this is a belated post, but I am so sorry to hear about Joe Papa's passing. He was a great teammate and friend during high school. If I ran into Joe in the halls, I would occasionally blurt out an expletive in Italian, and he would would feign embarassment and try to shut me up,. We kept in touch for a few years after graduation. We actually worked together during the summer of 1965 at a camping supply store along Rt 17. We had a lot of fun talking about college, and messing with the other employees. Joe liked to golf, so he once invited me along. I was terrible, and kept hitting the balls into the water trap until we ran out. He was a really nice guy ... smart too, and fun to be around ... my condolences to his family.

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