East Boston Community Leader Guarnaccia, Dies at 85

Joseph John Guarnaccia, a lifelong resident of East Boston and one of the original members of the East Boston Athletic Board, died April 16, 2022. He was 85 years old.

Mr. Guarnaccia served for 50 years on the East Boston Athletic Board, maintaining a loyal commitment to the youth of East Boston that also included his volunteer work as president of the East Boston North Little League and in coaching positions in the East Boston Pop Warner Football and youth baseball organizations.

Mr. Guarnacchia was also the proud father of three outstanding children, Rocco Guarnaccia, Pia Penney, and Dr. Joseph Guarnaccia.

Longtime Athletic Board official David Arinella said that Mr. Guarnaccia “treated every new member of the Board, including myself, with the utmost respect.”

“He was an old-school gentleman of the first order,” said Arinella. “They don’t make that anymore. That mold is broken. You don’t see it.”

Arinella said Mr. Guarnaccia contributions to the East Boston community were noteworthy. His magnetic personality, warmth, and generosity in spirit and giving were uplifting to all with whom he associated. Mr. Guarnaccia was also a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War.

“He was a veteran and served his country with distinction,” said Arinella. “He returned to East Boston and made a positive impact on people’s lives. He was the voice of Savio sports for the longest time and involved with Little League and Pop Warner football.  His first and only desire was for kids in this community to be recognized on a larger level than just East Boston.”

The Athletic Board gave Mr. Guarnaccia one of its highest accolades by naming the Joseph Guarnaccia Humanitarian Award in his honor. “He is the only person on the Board that won both an achievement award and a special recognition award, and we had our prestigious humanitarian award named after him,” noted Arinella. “Joseph Guarnaccia was held in high esteem by everyone.”

Arinella said there have been many outstanding individuals who have nobly made their own mark in the community, “but Joseph Guarnaccia was just one of a kind when it came to treating new members of the East Boston Athletic Board and being such a superb president and role model.”

Former Dom Savio sports great Jimmy Mosca, a recipient of the Athletic Board’s Athlete of the Year Award, recalled the fun-filled, sports experiences when Mr. Guarnaccia would join his father, James Mosca Sr., and Red McWilliams on annual trips to watch the Beanpot Hockey Tournament at the Boston Garden.

“Mr. Guarnaccia and my father were best of friends,” said Jimmy Mosca. “They went to the Beanpot about 30 years in a row. I was with them on the Blizzard of ’78. They got home that night, but I didn’t. They had left early, but Joe Lamour, Anthony Camiolo and I were seniors at Savio, and we ended up sleeping there.”

Mosca said that Mr. Guarnaccia was always very supportive of Savio and a great friend and neighbor. “He was a tremendous person. He loved Savio and did a lot for the school. We were neighbors for 30 years. He lived on Homer Street, and I lived on Moore Street, about two or three houses away. I knew his children, Rocco and Joe G. and Pia. They’re all great people. Mr. Guarnaccia will be sorely missed by all. Joe was such a wonderful guy.”

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