Joseph F. Sabatella
Joseph F. Sabatella, 88, of Scranton, died Tuesday at VNA Hospice at Geisinger Community Medical Center. His wife, Ida Fatto Sabatella, with whom he celebrated 65 years of marriage on Jan. 25, survives him.
Born in Dunmore, third son of the late Dominic "Mack" and Cora Gleason Sabatella, he was a graduate of Dunmore High School, class of 1941, received his bachelor's degree at the University of Scranton and his master's degree at Marywood University. He served his country in World War II as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, fighting in the European Theater, including in the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
Joe absolutely loved sports, and throughout his life he was always involved in some aspect of sports, from playing football for Dunmore High School to attending Atlantic Baseball School to playing professional baseball. After declining a football scholarship to Penn State, he went on to play Class A ball in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, before wearing the pinstripes for the New York Yankees Class AA and AAA affiliates. He was a physical education teacher and baseball coach for St. Mary's High School and later the assistant coach for the University of Scranton varsity baseball team, while his son Paul served as equipment manager. A well-respected PIAA official for basketball, football, baseball and softball for many years, he was recognized for his lifetime of contributions to local sports by being inducted into the NEPA Chapter of the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.
Together with his wife, Ida, he owned and operated Sabatella's Sports Shop in South Scranton from 1954 to 1969. Joe also worked as a safety engineer for PennDOT, was the superintendent of parks and recreation for the city of Scranton, and a special education teacher for NEIU for many years. He received an award for his outstanding service to the Scranton State School for the Deaf, where he served for 16 years as both a board member and as the board president. He also received a service award from the Scranton Police Department for outstanding service to the children of Scranton. After retirement, he enjoyed being a spectator and the biggest fan of each of his six grandchildren as they competed in their various sports activities.
Joe was a world traveler, extremely interested in history and government, actively involved in politics, and prominent in local Republican circles. A deeply religious man, Joe and his family were devout parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church. All told, he was devoted to his country, his family and his faith.
He is survived by two daughters, Joanne Para and husband, Richard, Moosic; and Ann Corinne Lushis and husband, John Jr., Bethlehem; a son, Paul, at home; six grandchildren, Aaron, Rachael, Brett and Matthew Para, and Christopher and Emily Lushis; several nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Mary Christine; sisters, Carmella and Grace; and brothers, Robert "Gus" and William "Rocco."
The funeral will be Saturday with Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. in Immaculate Conception Church, 801 Taylor Ave., Scranton. Those attending the funeral are asked to go directly to the church. Interment, Cathedral Cemetery.
Friends may call Friday, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Frank M. Regan Funeral Home, 715 Linden St., Scranton.