Joseph A. Costello Sr.
August 27, 1926-September 26, 2020
Joseph Anthony Costello Sr. was born August 27, 1926 in Monroe, Michigan. He was the youngest and last surviving child of Saverio and Mary (Leto) Costello/Castelli. After graduating from Monroe High School in 1945 he eagerly enlisted in the United States Army-Air Corps on September 4, 1945. He was inspired by his brother Steve, a purple heart and bronze star recipient and by a personal patriotic desire to join and serve his country during World War II. In Erlangen, Germany. Joseph was honorably discharged after being part of the 8th Photo Tech attached to the 40th Bomb Wing, 8th Air Force with the rank of sergeant. He often reminisced with his family of his many experiences during that time. He told of seeing Hermann Wilhelm Göring at the Nuremburg Trials, Adolf Hitler’s Eagle Nest, the German mystic and stigmatist, Therese Neumann and touring Vatican City.
In 1985 he revisited the Vatican with his wife Mary and boyhood friend, Sam Mignano and Sam’s wife Ginny. While touring through England, France, Italy and Sicily they were able to pay homage to Sam’s brother Joe, a fallen hero during the battle of Normandy. This journey took them to the Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in Saint James, Normandy, France. The last leg of their journey brought them to Joseph’s parent’s village in Borgetto, Sicily. Here Joseph spread soil he brought from Monroe on the hometown street where his parent’s walked. Returning home he took the soil he gathered from that same street and sprinkled it on their grave here in Monroe.
On July 7, 1947, Joseph was hired by Kelsey Hayes He was instrumental in organizing Local 723, UAW-CIO Union at just 21 years of age. Kelsey Hayes was later purchased by the Ford Motor Company and shortly thereafter he was employed at Kaiser Frazer in Ypsilanti, and also later at Detroit Stoker.
On January 1, 1951, Joseph and his partner opened Frenchtown Market located on North Monroe Street. In the early 70’s he became the sole owner of the business. At the age of 65 he retired, but went back to work full-time to help his youngest son, Michael with the business until the age of 82 when the business was sold.
September 5, 1953 Joseph married the love of his life, Mary Arlene Michelin at St. Charles Church in Cheboygan, Michigan. They recently celebrated 67 years of marriage. Together Joseph and Mary had 6 children: Stephen (Kathy Thompson), Anne (Bob Zochowski), Joseph Jr. (Amy Cronenwett), Michael (Julie LaRoy), Mary Vinton, and Barbara (Stanley Emerick). Joseph was also blessed with 13 grandchildren: Gabrielle, Jennifer, Sarah, Elizabeth, Monica, James, Joseph III, Anne, Anthony, Cameron, Russell, Brooke, and 17 great-grandchildren all of whom loved him very much. Joseph would often leave short love letters to his darling wife before leaving for work.
He was a past president of the Italian American Club of Monroe and member of the Carleton Rotary. A lifelong member of St Joseph Catholic Church Monroe where he held a position as treasurer and head usher for several years at Saturday night mass. He was instrumental in the foundation of the Frenchtown Fire Station on North Monroe Street. Joseph was a people person and had many friends and acquaintances during his long life.
Joseph was proceeded in death by his parents, and siblings: Frank (Alice McNeil), Josephine Gill Clemons, Steve (Marion Giarmo), Madeline Costello, Grace Costello, Julia Costello, and granddaughter Olivia Zochowski.
Family and friends may call at Rupp Funeral Home from 2 to 8pm on Thursday, October 1st, with a rosary at 7 pm. Friday he will lie in state at St John the Baptist Catholic Church at 10 am followed by mass at 11 am. His family will take his remains to St. Joseph Cemetery. Please follow all guidelines of the recent health restrictions at the funeral home and church.
Online condolences to the family may be made through www.ruppfuneralhomeinc.com. Memorial contributions in Joseph’s honor can be to St. John the Baptist Church.
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