Joseph D. D’Annunzio, P.E., Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Joseph D. D’Annunzio, fondly known among his peers as “Little Joe”, passed away peacefully on Tuesday in Naples, Florida with his family at his side. Joe D’Annunzio was a remarkably accomplished man in both his business and personal life. He was passionate and most enjoyed spending time with his wife Viola and their family, often watching his grandchildren obtain high accolades in both academics and athletics. His grandchildren affectionately referred him to as “Papa Joe” and it was rare that he missed any of their sporting events. As an avid reader, he had a thirst for knowledge and loved to travel the globe meeting new people and experiencing their cultures. Joe D’Annunzio traveled throughout his life touring every continent except Antarctica. He loved fine foods, traveling, fishing, golfing, tennis and reading. He had a deep sense of responsibility to his community constantly giving his time, energy, and financial support to organize events and raise funds for various groups and charitable causes. His favorite charitable cause was to assist Autistic or otherwise handicapped children. This passion led to his organizing and running an annual fundraising event for the Special Olympics and other charities in Florida that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Additionally, the D’Annunzio Family foundation’s contribution helped build the Newmark School in Scotch Plains for Autistic children. Little Joe was a role model and mentor to many individuals and businesses throughout his life. Joe D’Annunzio was a founder and member of the Board of Directors of Franklin State Bank in NJ, which through several consolidations is now part of the Bank of America. He was an active member of both the Planning Boards of Union County and Scotch Plains, NJ. He served as a trustee and Past Chairman of the Scotch Plains YMCA, was ARMY ROTC, and is a Gold Sponsor of the Alpha Delta Centennial. After graduating from MIT in 1950, Mr. D’Annunzio took a job with Brewster Contracting as a field engineer on the new construction of the New Jersey Turnpike. Then in 1951 he decided to work oversees for Morrison Knudsen Corporation as part of a team to construct airfield runways and railroads in Morocco for the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1954, he returned to the US and joined a joint-venture construction team called Garden State Constructors as an engineer on the Jersey City Sewer Project that built a complete sewer system for the city. It was the second largest single contract in America since the construction of Hoover Dam and in today's dollars would have cost well in excess of $1 billion. In 1956, he joined his father’s small construction business and became President & CEO until 1981. During his tenure as President and partner, Joe was instrumental in growing the firm into a Northeast powerhouse in utility and heavy construction. Notable projects included the construction of the largest United States sewage treatment plant in 1977 in Waterville, Maine, construction of a Washington Metro Subway station, construction of the infrastructure for the Blue Plains Sewage Treatment Plant in DC, construction of dual 10 ft. diameter water mains through the center of the City of Patterson and construction of over 70% of the Elizabethtown Water trunk main infrastructure in North Jersey. In 1981 his firm was called in on an emergency project to replace a large section of two broken vandalized water trunk mains that fed the City of Newark. Immediately after that project, Joe left the firm to start D’Annunzio & Sons, Inc. with his four sons; Jim, Joe, Michael and Stephen and shortly thereafter, he also started DMD trucking company with two of his daughters Denise and Maria. In 1986 the construction firm was involved with a contract for the cleanup of NJ’s first Superfund Project below the Pulaski Skyway in Jersey City. Soon after that, Joe developed health problems and retired from day-to-day activities but remained as the firm’s Chairman until his death. Through his leadership his four sons took charge of the business in 1987 and grew the company into one of the most respected Heavy-Highway/Utility contractors in the NYC Metro area. Notable projects include Runways at Newark Liberty, foundations for the Control Tower at LaGuardia, Interchange 12 on the NJ Turnpike, two large viaducts approaching the Holland Tunnel and work on the 2nd Avenue Subway project. Joe was highly accomplished in the construction field and beyond running a successful construction company, he held leadership positions in NUCA, UTCA, ARTBA, ASCE, the American Water Works Association, NJ Transportation Trust Fund Authority, Management Advisory Group USEPA Construction Grants Program, NJDEP Governor’s Task Force Sewer Construction and NJPEC. Throughout his career he gained several leadership awards including: Ditch Digger of the Year Award in 1973, Engineer of the Year Award in 1982, and the 1987 William Feather Memorial Award. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Utility Contractors Association Hall of Fame and a few years later; he was inducted into New Jersey’s Construction Industry Hall of Fame in 1995. Joe was also a member of the Moles, the most prestigious tunneling and heavy contracting organization in America. Throughout all these accomplishments, Joe was passionate for the love he had for his wife Viola and his family. Together, over the course of a sixty-one year marriage, they had seven children and were then blessed further with 20 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. He is survived by his wife Viola, his children and their spouses Camille & Bill Szymczak, Denise & Campbell Klockner, James & Christine D’Annunzio, Joseph P. D’Annunzio, Michael & Kim D’Annunzio, Stephen & Donna D’Annunzio, Maria & Thomas DeVizio and 20 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren. His love of life and the values he taught will be forever instilled in his family. Viewings will be held on November 7th & 8th from 3 PM to 7 PM at the Higgins Funeral Home 752 Mountain Blvd. Watchung, NJ 07029. There will be a Funeral Mass on Monday, November 9th at 10:00am at: Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 1571 South Martine Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076 followed by interment at Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains, NJ. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Naples Italian American Foundation Endowment Fund at 7035 Airport Pulling Rd. N. Naples, FL 34109 (239) 597-5210. The money will be used for the benefit of educating disadvantaged and handicapped children.