JOSEPH NASTASI was 11 years old, a happy American kid, when his immigrant parents decided to return to Sicily.
Needless to say, Joe found it difficult to deal with life in Sicily after growing up in Rossiter, Indiana County, Pa.
When he was nearly 17, his parents relented and sent Joe back to America, by ship and by himself.
"He was determined to make a life for himself in the the United States," his family said.
And he did, working hard at various jobs and finally having his own business in Philadelphia. He died Tuesday. He was 95 and lived in Springfield, Delaware County.
Even though Joe was but a teenager when he returned to the U.S., he quickly learned to support himself. He worked at various jobs, from manufacturing needles to building airplane engines for General Motors during World War II.
He was living in New Brunswick, N.J., when he took a job with a uniform-manufacturing company in Philadelphia. He moved here and, after borrowing money from family members, purchased the business in 1942.
He retired from his firm, Pennsylvania Apparel Co., in 1986 and devoted the rest of his life to his growing family.
"Joe is best-remembered as a man who lived and breathed as the heart of his family," his family said.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons, Nicholas J. and Anthony P.; a brother, Rocco; five sisters, Nicola, Rose Coffaro, Catherine Mastrobuono, Antonia Fareri and Carmella Pinizzotto; eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by two brothers, Peter and Anthony.