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October 24, 1924 - February 7, 2024
Joseph DeMarco, age 99, of Monroe, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, February 7, at the IHM Senior Living Community, Monroe, surrounded by his family.
Born October 24, 1924, in Watson, West Virginia, which is now Fairmont, WV. He is one of three children born from the union of Louis and Mary (Oliverio) DeMarco. The family lived in a coal mine company house before moving to Brownton, West Virginia in 1930. Sadly, Joe’s father died when he was only fourteen, so Joe had to work at odd jobs, painting, cleaning classrooms at school, and delivering milk from the family’s cow to help support the family. With the start of World War 2, there was a shortage of workers, so Joe started working in the coal mines as a junior in high school. Joe graduated from Philippi High School, in Philippi, WV, in May, 1943, at which time he also received his induction papers into military service. He was drafted into the US Navy and reported to basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station on July 16, 1943. After basic training, Joe completed four months of radio school in Canbarra, Australia. Joe spent the rest of World War 2 with the 7th Fleet, as a land-based Radioman in the Pacific Theater, including the Philippines and New Guinea. He was honorably discharged on December 5, 1945. After the war, Joe again worked in the coal mines, and started playing more baseball. In 1948 he was invited to a tryout for the Boston Red Sox but was unable to go due to working in the mines. In 1950, Joe moved to Dearborn, MI. with his mother and sister, and started working in the auto industry, and attended the Ford Trade School as an electrical apprentice, graduating in 1954 as an Industrial Electrician. On June 24, 1956, Joseph returned to West Virginia and married the love of his life, Patricia Smallridge, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Brownton, West Virginia. Pat moved to Dearborn, Michigan and they started their lives together. It was in Dearborn that their seven children were born. In 1965, they bought ten acres of property in Monroe, and Joe planted fifty fruit trees. In 1966 they built their home, which Joe did all the electrical and plumbing, and moved in with their children. Joe spent thirty years in the auto industry, starting as an hourly employee working on a gear grinding machine, and retiring from Ford Motor Company as Plant Engineering Superintendent of the Woodhaven Stamping Plant, in May 1980. Joe and Pat were members of St. Mary Catholic Church. Joe enjoyed traveling to the Smallridge Family Reunion in West Virginia every year to spend time with Pat’s family, and traveling to his annual Navy Reunion, which took them to many different states. Joe also loved spending time with his family and spent a lot of time attending his children and grandchildren’s many events over the years. Joe was an avid hunter and couldn’t wait for his annual deer hunting trip to the Upper Peninsula, first with his cousin Patsy, and then with his children. Joe loved to garden, and he always had a large garden and orchard and Pat would can the vegetables and fruits he harvested. At harvest time, his kids would put a table by the road and sell fruits and vegetables. Once the kids moved away, the customers would not stop coming, so Joe continued selling fruits and vegetables from a table well into his 70’s. He still planted a garden this past spring at 98 years old. In 1994, Joe wrote down some memories about his life, as he stated, “I am now at the end of life’s cycle,” which he turned into a book for his children and grandchildren, titled, “My Journey Through Life.” Joseph is survived by seven children: Louis E. DeMarco of Carol Stream, IL, JoAnn (Joe) Bitz of Monroe, Joseph A. (Annette) DeMarco of Mt Holly, N.C, John A. (Laura) DeMarco of Monroe, Robert K. DeMarco of Dallas, TX, Michael E. (Valerie) DeMarco of Paragould, AR and James P. DeMarco of Monroe; eleven grandchildren: Danielle (Alex) Glass, Marc Bitz, Jonathan Bitz, Jenna (Robert) Turner, Lindsay DeMarco, Michelle DeMarco, Sarah DeMarco, Joseph D. DeMarco, Mace DeMarco, Kennsington DeMarco and Joseph W. DeMarco; five great grandchildren: Cowen Glass, Fordham Glass, Blake Turner, Remi Turner, and Malachi DeMarco; a sister-in-law, Betty Smallridge. Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia, who he lovingly cared for through her fifteen-year battle with dementia, parents, infant sister Vittaria, who died when Joe was 2 months old, and his sister Vicki in 2022.
Family and friends may visit on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Rupp Funeral Home, 2345 S. Custer Road, Monroe, MI 48162. He will lie in state at 10 a.m. Thursday, February 15, 2024, at St. Mary Catholic Church, where Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. by the church pastor, Fr. David Burgard. He will be laid to rest immediately following Mass at St. Joseph Cemetery, Monroe.
Memorial contributions in Joe's memory are suggested to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.ruppfuneralhomeinc.com.