Joseph Iavarone, the founder of Wantagh institution Iavarone Bros., died on December 1.
Joseph Iavarone was born March 3, 1925, the oldest son of seven children born to Pasquale and Rose Iavarone. Pasquale and Rose immigrated from the Naples region of Italy in 1919 through Ellis Island and settled in East New York.
As the oldest son he soon became an active participant in his father’s pork store when his father separated from his friends and partners to open his own store in the Ridgewood area of Brooklyn on Wilson Avenue.
The family of nine lived in a railroad flat above the store and Joseph found his days very busy between school and helping his father at the store. After serving his country during World War II, Joseph returned from Europe to help his father in the store. Several years later, Pasquale retired and Joe’s brother, Jerry, returned from the Korean conflict to join his brother and established the store with its present name, Iavarone Bros.
Joseph was one of the founding members of the Italian-American Pork Association, an active member of the Lions Club and the Sons of Italy.
Iavarone Bros has moved to its fourth generation with a third set of brothers at the helm (in addition to cousins who have joined them) of what is considered the premier group of specialty food markets in the New York metropolitan area.
Joseph retired with his wife, Angelina in 1978 and became a Floridian at his home in Marco Island. After working all his life, Joe discovered a new passion in golf and played throughout the remainder of his life, being a member of both the Garden City Country Club in New York and the Naples Country Club in Florida. Joe and Ann managed to quell their curiosity about the rest of the world by travelling extensively, visiting such sites as the great wall of China, the Pyramids in Egypt, the Alaskan glaciers and experiencing a maiden trans-Atlantic voyage from London to New York on Cunard’s QE2.
Even though travel and golf kept him busy Joseph alway remembered the importance of family and along with Angelina kept the roots of the Iavarone family tree strong . Holiday meals were an almost a ceremonial event as in most Italian-American homes.
Joseph survived his beloved wife Angelina by nearly three years. He is survived by his three sons, Pat, John and Joe; Daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.