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Salvatore "Sam" Occhipinti

9/26/2017


Salvatore “Sam” Occhipinti, age 93, passed away on Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

Sam, as he was known to all, was born and raised in Paterson. He remained a resident of Paterson his entire life until joining his daughter Diane in her home in Wayne in 2015.

Sam attended Eastside High School but, like so many young folks from that era, he left school before graduating to join the workforce. His first job was with Meyer Brothers Department Store in Paterson. It was there that he would meet the woman who would become the love of his life. Her name was June Ketch and she was the secretary to Mr. Bert Meyers. Sam had the pleasure of training June on a system that the store used to print addresses for packages going out for shipment. This gave Sam a great chance to get to know June which quickly led to him asking her out on a date. Their love for each other grew but marriage would have to wait due to World War II raging in Europe. Consequently, in 1943, Sam was called into service and, putting on the Army uniform, he proudly served as a rifleman in Central Europe during World War II as a member of the Army’s 71st Division, 66th Infantry. Sam was awarded the American Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Soon after returning to civilian life in 1946, Sam and June’s wedding date was set. They exchanged wedding promises on Sunday, July 6, 1947 at Our Lady of Victories Church in Paterson. This was followed by a honeymoon train trip to Montreal Canada.

After the wedding festivities, Mr. Salvatore and Mrs. June Occhipinti settled into the first of several houses they would call home over the course of their 67 happy years of marriage - all of those homes in the City of Paterson until June’s passing in 2014. Sam had already begun a new job in one of Paterson’s many dye houses. He worked there for sixteen years and his family used to joke that he lost his fingerprints during that time due to the many chemicals he had to work with.

After the dye house, Sam became a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service. His route was always on foot which suited him since he loved to walk. He began letter carrying in 1962 and he worked more than two decades before retiring in the mid-1980’s. Sam wore the soles off many pairs of shoes but he loved his work and made many friends along the way as he faithfully delivered their mail.

Sam’s idea of relaxation and fun included pretty much anything centered on being at home and being with his family. He loved being outdoors so working in his beautiful vegetable garden and making sure his yard always looked ready for a feature story in Better Homes and Garden magazine were constant quests. In the kitchen, Sam’s wife June got off a little bit easy because Sam also loved to cook. His granddaughters, whom he adored, loved Poppy’s chili and everyone will always cherish the sweet memory of Sunday mornings enjoying his delicious pancakes. They’ll also remember marathon Scrabble games that could go on for three hours but never get boring because you’d always have to watch out for Sam trying to get away with fake words for a triple word score. Sam also was a bit of a closet accordion player who would only play for himself and an occasional private duet with his granddaughter Megan who would join him on her flute. When it came to entertaining Sam, he always went for a good western – either in book form or watching a movie, especially if it was starring the ultimate cowboy…John Wayne. A man of abiding faith in his creator, Sam and June were longtime, faithful parishioners of St. Paul R.C. Church in Prospect Park.

Sam loved being an American. He expressed his patriotism in many ways and especially enjoyed traveling all over the country with June to attend his Army 71st Division, 66th Infantry reunions where he could reminisce with old comrades.

Always guick with a joke, he often seemed to have a song in his heart which found its way to his lips via a whistle or a hum.

Sam was predeceased by his beloved wife June (nee Ketch) in 2014 and his dear daughter Jo Ann Dale in 2012. He is survived by his dear daughter Diane and husband Albert Clark; three adored grandchildren: Kimberly Dale, Kelly Dale Gisonna and husband Nick, and Megan Clark; one cherished great-grandson James Gisonna; one dear sister: Anna Contini; his sister-in-law Rosemarie Occhipinti; his son-in-law John Dale; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was also predeceased by his brother Edward Occhipinti, his sister Carmela “Millie” Tafaro, and his brothers-in-law Angelo Contini and Vito Tafaro.

Friends may gather with the family for Memorial Visitation at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne, on Friday, September 29, 2017 from 6-9 PM.

A Funeral Mass will be offered on Saturday, September 30, 2017 beginning 10:00 AM at St. Paul’s R.C. Church, 286 Haledon Avenue, Prospect Park. Please meet directly at the church.

In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy in Sam’s name are asked to consider Wounded Warrior Project PO Box 758517 Topeka, KS 66675-8517, or at WoundedWarriorProject.org

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