He was born in Meriden on April 29, 1928, and attended local primary schools, graduating from Williston Academy in Easthampton, MA, in 1946. He was predeceased by his parents, Rose and Peter Petruzelo; and his two sisters, Anne Mesite and Lucille Lewis.
He leaves his devoted and loving wife of 62 years, Elizabeth Fulin Petruzelo, and his children, Paula Backman and her husband, Keith, of Old Saybrook; and Peter Petruzelo, of Durham. He also leaves his grandchildren, Ryan Backman and his wife, Jonna, of Wilton and their two children, Maddox and Liam; Erica Janson and her husband, Keith, of Avon; and Haley Petruzelo, of Durham.
Joe began his career as president of the family business, The Petrose Hotel, where in 1947, the Petruzelo family installed Meriden’s first public TV. It was during the early ’60’s that he founded The Petruzelo Insurance Agency, Inc. and became owner/manager of Travel Unlimited of Meriden and Putnam. Over the years Joe was active in several local civic organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, the North Italian Home Club, and the Elks Club.
Joe also served as president of the Unison Club. In the early 70’s, he was involved in local and state politics and became Republican Town Chairman for the City of Meriden. His passions were many. He traveled extensively From hunting moose in Newfoundland, to sport fishing in Alaska, he relished opportunities to visit new places and share his experiences with family and friends. He was an incredible cook, a skill he acquired working alongside his father, a restaurateur and chef. His enthusiasm for teaching and advising young people left a long-enduring influence on the lives of his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and others. He will be remembered and missed by all who knew him for his bigger than life personality, his sense of humor, his extraordinary generosity of heart and devotion to family and friends.
The family would like to thank Franciscan Hospice Care and VNA Home Health Services of Meriden for the wonderful and compassionate care Joe received during the course of his illness.