Benedict A. Paparella, 87, of Villanova, a philosophy professor at Villanova University, died Wednesday, April 16, at the Birches at Arbour Square in Harleysville of complications from a stroke.
The son of Italian immigrants, Mr. Paparella was born in Trenton and graduated from Trenton Catholic Boys High School in 1944. He enlisted in the Navy for the remaining years of World War II, serving as a hospital corpsman in the Pacific.
After the war, he earned a biology degree from Georgetown University and a master's in philosophy from the Catholic University of America. Still in the Reserves in the early 1950s, Mr. Paparella was recalled by the Navy to serve during the Korean War. Mr. Paparella turned down the chance to be an officer, an opportunity afforded by his degrees.
"I got the impression that he was sort of used to dealing with normal people, and the officers were much more elite and away from the fun," said his son, Thomas E. Paparella.
Afterward, Mr. Paparella returned to Catholic University and received his Ph.D. in philosophy. He then secured a job in Villanova's philosophy department in 1955.
Mr. Paparella worked at Villanova for more than 30 years, retiring in 1998. He specialized in medical and business ethics.
"He probably gave some people their first thoughts about right and wrong when it comes to the business and medical worlds," his son said. "He influenced the lives of a lot of people who are still influencing the fields of medicine and business."
In 1957, he married Julia Boland, a teacher in the college of nursing. From 1968 to 1974, Mr. Paparella was on loan to Gwynedd Mercy College to serve as vice president of academic affairs.
After returning to Villanova, Mr. Paparella was an associate editor of Augustinian Studies, the university's peer-reviewed journal focused on St. Augustine's life and influence.
Mr. Paparella also received an honorary degree from Neumann College in 2011 and was a recipient of the Lindback Award in 1965 for distinguished teaching as well as the College of Nursing Medallion from Villanova.
He is survived by his wife, son, and three grandchildren.
A Funeral Mass was held Friday. Donations may be made to the Julia B. Paparella Endowment Fund, c/o College of Nursing, Villanova University, 800 E. Lancaster Ave., Villanova, Pa. 19085.