Cav. Joseph Cocchia Jr. dies at 83



Joseph CocciaJr. 83, of Saddle Brook and formerly of Kearny passed away on Jan. 3. Born in Newark to the late Clementina and Joseph Coccia, Sr. He was an Army veteran of the Korean War serving in Japan and Korea from 1951-1953. Joseph was the founder of the Coccia Foundation in Saddle Brook, whose mission is to preserve and promote Italian culture. He was also the founder of the Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute at Montclair State University. Joseph was decorated with the Medal of Cavaliere in the Legion of Merit presented by the Republic of Italy for extraordinary fundraising after the earthquakes in 1976 and 1980 (Friuli and Mezzogiorno). He was a parishioner of St. Philip the Apostle R.C. Church in Saddle Brook. He served as a past National President of UNICO National from 1976-1977 and was a former member of the Board of Directors of Valley National Bank. Previously, he owned Coccia Real Estate and Insurance Agency in Kearny. Cav. Joseph received a personal Papal Blessing from Pope Jonn Paul II . He was a Lifetime Silver Honorary Member of the N.J. State Police Benevolent Association for a successful fundraiser in obtaining 140 bulletproof vests for local police officers. He was the Grand Marshall in the Columbus Day Parade in Nutley-Belleville and in East Hanover. He was the beloved husband of Elda M. (nee Soriano) Coccia, devoted father of Genevieve Nicastro of Whippany, Elisa Coccia of Saddle Brook, Marisa Kettelhut of Georgia, Joseph Coccia, III of Rochelle Park and Christopher Coccia of Florham Park; dear brother of the late Katherine Zito, Theresa Farr and Vincent Coccia; loving grandfather of ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren. The funeral was held from the Costa Memorial Home, Boulevard and Central Ave., Hasbrouck Heights, on Monday Jan. 7. The Funeral Liturgy was from St. Philip the Apostle R.C. Church, Saddle Brook. Entombment followed at Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington. Visitation was held Saturday and Sunday. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Coccia Foundation 23 Leswing Ave., Saddle Brook, N.J. 07663 would be appreciated.




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