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SCARBOROUGH-- Joseph (born Guiseppe) Louis LaForgia, 91, passed away peacefully on Dec. 6, 2013 at Mercy Hospital, surrounded by his family. Originally from New York City, Joe later moved to Brentwood, Long Island, N.Y. and then retired to Portland and South Portland, Maine. He spent the last two years of his life in the dedicated care of the staff in the Residential Unit at Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough, where he felt and was treated as part of a loving family.
Born on August 29, 1922 of Dominico and Giovianni LaForgia, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II working as a radio operator in the Signal Corps.
He worked for 35 years as a photographer for an electronics firm filming their products at different locations, covering company events and performing photo lab work.
Upon retiring in Maine in 1988 he held various part-time jobs - most recently at the South Portland Municipal Golf Course and UNUM. He did a lot of public service including volunteering for DHHS as well as Maine Medical Center.
He was married to his beautiful wife Anne (born Antoinette) Marie LaForgia for 64 years until she passed away in April 2012. Together their warmth, generosity and kindness to all, as well as their lifelong love of learning and an appreciation for all kinds of music, has left a lasting legacy on their children and others. He learned something new everyday. He was endlessly curious about everything and everyone. He never felt hate or jealousy and was humble to the end.
He felt that his greatest asset was his love for family with whom he shared many laughs and experiences. He also was the handyman of their homes & Mr. Fixit.
He was a great lover of music, saying 'Without music the world is void.' His many favorites included Capriccio Italien, Bolero, the opera 'Nessun Dorma,' Besame Mucho, Mack the Knife, St. Louis Blues, and the music of Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter ('In the Still of the Night,'), George Gershwin, Andrea Bocelli, and all the musicals. He loved baseball, learning stick ball in New York City, and was a huge New York Yankee fan whose hero was Joe DiMaggio.
Joe loved to golf, swim, go to the beach, and nature, and was a self-proclaimed 'fresh air freak'. Upon going outside he'd say, 'The best things in life are free' and in 2008 he and Anne donated an autumn maple tree which is placed in front of the Portland Payson Park Playground for generations of children to enjoy.
He leaves his four children, Joanna LaForgia Raleigh and husband, Ladd Raleigh, and their sons Dr. Matthew Raleigh, and Marc Raleigh; his daughter Lorraine LaForgia Canterbury, and husband Bruce Canterbury, and her children David Joseph Joy and Julie Anne Joy; his daughter Teresa Stearns and Andrew Stone, and her two daughters Lauren and Aleeza Jane Stearns; and his son Michael Joseph LaForgia, and wife Donna LaForgia, and children Kaelyn, Jenna Marie, Michael Joseph LaForgia Jr.
'Because of you there's a song in our hearts' Dad, and 'We'll be loving you, always.' Ti vogliamo bene, Papa.'
The family wishes to extend their deepest gratitude to the staff of the Scarborough Veterans Home for their infinite love and care.
Visiting hours will be 12-2 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9, followed by 2 p.m. funeral service, at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland
In lieu of flowers,
donations may be made to:
The Maine Veterans Home
290 US Route One
Scarborough, ME. 04074
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Dec. 8, 2013