Joseph P. Caldarera, 100, of Wayne, New Jersey, died at his home on Saturday, December 18, 2021. Born on March 16, 1921, in Brooklyn, New York, he was the only child of Charles N. Caldarera and Elvira M. Iraggi. After a childhood in New York City, and with war on the horizon, he and his good friend Sal decided they needed to finish their education in order to serve their country. They headed south and enrolled at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, which graduated its officers quickly. He was graduated in 1943 with a chemistry degree and entered the US Army as a first lieutenant, later rising to captain. He was sent abroad, entered combat in several battles including the Battle of Monte Cassino, and traveled up through Italy towards the end of the war. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious service in combat from February to May 1945 in the Italian Campaign, where he “displayed extraordinary courage and heroism.” Home on leave during the war, he married the late Theodora ‘Teddy’ Lampros Caldarera on June 5, 1944. After the war, he and Teddy started a family, welcoming four children, and eventually settled in Upper Saddle River, NJ. He took a job at the Colgate-Palmolive Company, became a foreman in 1948 and continued to work his way up in management positions to become the director of personnel, responsible for negotiating contracts with the labor unions. Upon retirement in 1983, having recently completed an MBA, he started two new careers, as a commercial real estate agent and as an adjunct professor for the final course in the undergraduate business program at Jersey City State College. He was active as a member of the Urban League and on the board at Christ Hospital, both in Jersey City. He was always interested in solving hands-on problems, and was one of the first people his family knew to have a home computer in the mid-1980s. He would spend hours learning how to use it and kept up with new versions, as well as engaging in various home construction and renovation projects. Even in his 70s, he would insist on getting up on the roof to clean the gutters. He was preceded in death by his parents, and by his wife of 66 years, Theodora. He is survived by their four children, Kathryn and her husband Frank Franzino, Joan and her husband John Bloom, Joseph P. Caldarera, Jr., and John and his wife Devon Caldarera. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, Elizabeth, Frank, Joseph, Aram, Lenya, Michael Tobias, Andreas, Nicholas, and Julianne, and ten great-grandchildren, Victoria, Alexandra, Luca, Theodore, Anna, Lydia, Camille, Madeline, Hannah and Leah, and many dear cousins, nephews, and nieces. The family is so grateful for his caregiver Anna Gabrea who made him feel special and comfortable in his home during his last years, including throughout the pandemic. Everyone was thrilled to be able to celebrate his 100 th birthday in March of 2021. He was honored to be presented with the Distinguished Service medal by the New Jersey Governor and the NJ Veterans Affairs office in recognition of his service in WWII. He donned a 100 th birthday party hat while relatives nearby decorated his outside deck with banners and balloons, and relatives from afar sent a plethora of cards, decorations, flowers, cakes and more to celebrate. The family will begin a funeral procession at C.C. Van Emburgh Funeral Home, 306 East Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood, New Jersey, on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, with a private burial service at Ascension Cemetery, 650 Saddle River Road, Airmont, New York. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the United Way of Hudson County, another organization in which he was active throughout his life, would be appreciated. www.unitedwayhudson.org .
Posted in: vanemburgh.com
Posted on: 2022-01-04
Link to original obituary: https://www.vanemburgh.com/obituary/joseph-caldarera