Ernest J. DeFazio
Published in the Eagle-Tribune from 6/17/2008 - 6/18/2008.
HAVERHILL Ernest J. DeFazio, 83, lifelong resident of Haverhill, died Sunday morning, June 15, 2008 at his residence.
Mr. DeFazio was born in Haverhill on April 16, 1925, last of nine children of the late Annibale and Pasqualina DeFazio of Italy. He was educated in Haverhill Public Schools, and a graduate of Haverhill High School, Class of 1943, where he played varsity baseball for four years for the Hillies, and captained the team his junior year, and also was a three year starter with the football team.
He was a veteran of World War II, having been drafted to serve in the U.S. Army in 1943 and served throughout overseas during the war as a Heavy Machine Gunner with the 350th Infantry Regiment. He was the recipient of the Good Conduct Medal, Victory Medal, Purple Heart from having been wounded in Italy in July of 1944, and the 1944 European-African Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon. He returned to Haverhill after being Honorable discharged in 1946.
Following the service, he signed to play professional baseball with the New York Yankees Minor League system; he met his soon to be wife while playing baseball in Easton, MD. He left playing baseball after just three years to return home to help his ailing father, and to run the family business, DeFazio Market located on Hilldale Avenue.
Mr. DeFazio had also worked for Regan Ford and the DeLuca car dealership of Haverhill; also worked for the Haverhill Public School System beginning in the late 70's until his retirement in 1989. He coached the Haverhill High School Variety Baseball Team from 1962 to 1969 and again in 1984 and 1985.
He was an avid New York Yankees fan; a horse racing enthusiast; enjoyed following local softball teams; and most of all enjoyed spending time with his family and especially with his grandchildren being involved in many of their activities.
He is the husband of the late Virginia (Stoops) DeFazio who died in 1992, having been married for 42 years.
His surviving family members include his children, Ernest J. DeFazio Jr. of Haverhill and Patricia L. Kelly and her husband Frank of Morris Plains, N.J.; grandchildren, Claire Kelly, Moira Kelly, and Colleen Kelly, all of Morris Plains, N.J.; also several nieces and nephews.
ARRANGEMENTS: Funeral services will be tomorrow, June 19, beginning in the C. Frank Linnehan and Son Haverhill Funeral Home, 129 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill at 9 a.m. Funeral Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated in All Saints Church, 120 Bellevue Ave., Haverhill at 10 a.m. Interment will follow with military honors in St. Patrick Cemetery, North Broadway, Haverhill. Calling hours will be held today in the C. Frank Linnehan and Son Haverhill Funeral Home, 129 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Relatives and friends invited. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ernie's memory may be made to the DeFazio Memorial Baseball Scholarship, which is offered to a Haverhill High School baseball player continuing onto college, c/o Bank of America, 191 Merrimack St., Haverhill, MA 01830. For directions and online guestbook, please visit, www.linnehanfuneralhomes.com.