Joseph S Grasso

(Nov 8, 1920 to Jan 5, 2011)

His depression era childhood forged his work ethic. Days would sometimes start at 4 or 5 a.m. with calls from farmers and he slept with his hand on a phone. His many notes and numbers were always spread out on his kitchen table; not that he really needed them. His mind was a steel trap. In his younger years he farmed 400 acres of asparagus (people today call those 400 acres Weatherby). He sold the land and segued into what would eventually become Grasso Foods: Nestle, Kraft, Birdseye and McDonald’s buy his peppers. It was a true family business with 3 generations involved. “Listen to me carefully” he’d tell them, or if he was not pleased they might hear that something was “Highly Irregular”. His company grew large but his concern for his brother farmers never changed.rn In his earlier years he was a champion skeet shooter (28 gauge), hunted everything from deer in NJ to bear in Maine and taught himself to fly his Cessna. Later years found his free time nearly non existent but he still liked to catch an occasional episode of Bonanza, sneak off to the Casinos or watch Notre Dame.rn He forged a lifelong partnership with his wife Lena (nee Mangeri). She ran the home but also did the books for the company. Their 67 year marriage would be blessed by 4 daughters: Rosemary Miller, Verna DeWitt, Lorraine DiBona and Janet Bufano, 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. He was pre-deceased by his brother, Michael and sister Grace Licciardello.rn Come celebrate 90 adventurous years Saturday 9-11:30 AM at Daley Life Celebration Studio, where there will be a service at Noon. Interment St. Joseph Cemetery.rn Please do not send flowers, instead give donations to Joseph S. Grasso Scholarship Fund for Kingsway Regional H.S., care of The Bank, 179 Kings Highway, Woolwich NJ 08085. rn

21 thoughts on “Joseph S Grasso

  1. Janet Bufano

    I miss you so much Dad. You were the best teacher I ever had in life and business. I wish you could hear all the kind words said by our many customers, “leader in the industry”, “Mr. Grasso taught me everything I know about this business” and so on. You leave a legacy that will not be easily filled, but you trained us well and I have no doubt we will succeed.

  2. Patricia Bufano

    Janet, Al, and the Graasso Family. I never met your Dad , but by meeting you Janet i can see he was a wonderful man to have raised you. Our deepest sympathy goes out to all of you, May God Bless the entire family, and may the memories of your Dad contuine to fill you with Love…. Pat and Uncle Paul

  3. Melody Lloyd

    Mr. Grasso even though your gone, I know you will never be forgotten. You were my boss for close to 20 years. We had our bad moments and our good ones. You tried my patience a few times, but in the end we were always alright. rn I’ll never forget the time I told you there was a fire outside. It was a car across the street, you thought I meant the plant and you ran out there. You were so mad at me. rn I’ll never have the chance again “to look at you when I am talking.” I know if God has an office in the sky your going to be the CEO.

  4. Rosemary Miller

    Dad, you were one of a kind…sometimes hard to deal with, but you showed us the right way was not always the easy way. You weren’t afraid of anything or anybody. I thank you for your generous heart and always wanting to make your family’s life a little easier. God Bless you Dad…love always, your daughter.

  5. Verna DeWitt

    One of my fondest memories was when when I was very young, my dad brought home some live deer which were tied up in the back of his pick-up. I remember he carried each one of them to a specially designed high-wire fence where we raised them as pets. I always enjoyed feeding them. nMy dad was a great example of a hard worker. He was also very intrigued with the latest technology.nI will always remember dad and mom cooking together. It was quite amusing! nThe God of peace be with you all. – Romans 15:33

  6. Gaile La Bar & Family

    Janet, Al , and the Grasso Family: We are so so sorry for the loss of your father – May all the fond memories of the life he shared with you help and guide you all thur these difficult times. Just remember ….how proud he is …..for carrying on with his legacy .

  7. Barbara Woodside

    Mrs. Grasso & Family – Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Mr. Grasso was a legend in Swedesboro. He and Ricky argued and laughed together for over 50 years. He will be greatly missed by all of us @ Erdner Bros., Inc.

  8. Calvin G. Canedy

    Joe was truly one of the original Pioneers in our Industry. It was a pleasure to have known and worked with him. There will never be another one like him. My sincere synpathies to Janet and the Grasso Family

  9. Jeff Golangco

    Joe,rnrnYou will be sorely missed. Your company has always stood for quality, dependability, and most of all integrity. I have enjoyed working with you and will miss our annual negotiating sessions. rnrnBut have no worries, you’ve trained Janet and Tony well. I have no doubt they will do a fantastic job for you.rnrnBest,rnrnJeff and all your friends from Custom Food Products (California)

  10. Ryan McLaughlin

    From all of us at Dennis Sales, our condolences go out to the entire Grasso Family and Grasso Foods. Fond memories and stories were shared around our office yesterday…and will be for years to come. Joe will be deeply missed. I personally will miss our State of the “Pepper” Industry talks each Spring that had become an annual tradition. THANKS JOE!!!

  11. Joseph M. Dunn

    Janet, I have done business wih your father since the late sixties and each time it was fair and square. In the begining, there were no PO’s his word was good and so was mine. We have similar stories in that we were both farmers and both started Frozen Food plants. We are also similar in that I am ninety three and my wife and I were married 68 years when she passed on in 2009. I will never meet another Joe Grasso in my life time because there never will be one.You have big foot prints to follow and I know you can do it. God Bless all of you and I will say a prayer for him and his whole family on Saturday between 6:30 AM and 8:00 AM our time.

  12. Sheri Ezekiel

    We were all deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Mr. Grasso. Please know the Grasso family and Grasso foods are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. From all of us at Vistar/Roma Foods, our deepest sympathies and condolences.

  13. Jaimee Di Bona

    Grandpop ill miss you so much and I am so sad that I didn’t get to be aroud you even more. I always bragged about you to my friends as th hardest worker and most generous person. You always made me laugh and I am so happy the last thing I talked to you about was me telling you I graduating from college and talking about plans with you. I love you and will always miss you. Job 1:21

  14. Craig West

    To my friendly competitor at Grasso Foods:nThough he lived a long and rich life, it is still a shock to hear of Joe’s passing. When you start a relationship with someone and that someone is already 65, you kind of figure they just might go on living forever. My last conversation, which was always about Peppers, I had to ask his age.nThe way he answered is one I hope to be able to use in 30-40 years.nHe didn’t say Eighty-nine, but rather eight (insert a pause) nine. It made me consider that if I add the 8 and 9 together, I might be closer to his age than his actual age. Damn, he loved the game of business. It was Us processors against the whole world- or maybe I got it backwards. I was fortunate to receive a phone call 2-3 times a year fornover 25 years. He always got more info. out of me than I out of him. I will miss that larger than life, semi-gruff voice (O.K. not semi!). I like to remind myself life is short, in order to cherish the time we have with the ones we love. In Joe’s case, I might suggest he got his money’s worth. We should all do, what we love for so long. To his family, may you honor his life and remember to breath through your grieving process.

  15. Jeanine Olcott

    Some of my fondest memories of Grandpop is when I was little, and me and my family would come to visit from VT. I remember quite often waking up to the smell of bacon very early in the morning and when I would come down from my bed Grandpop would put a few pieces on my plate next to my cereal. I can still hear him saying “Eat,eat” at family dinners. My sisters and I would crouch down and spy on him working or watching one of his favorite sports on TV. I remember him smiling at me and my sisters sitting on the sofa as he went out to work at the plant and him telling me I looked like my Grandmother. As I got older my respect for him grew, and I quickly figured out that when you talked to Grandpop you better have all your ducks in a row and all of your information correct. I can still hear his laugh when he knew he got one up on you. His mind was always sharp. He was always making sure his family was okay and moving ahead. Grandpop will be very missed and loved always. Romans 10:9-10

  16. Rob Beall

    Very sorry to hear, We have been Grasso customers fpr nearly 20 years. Joe and I did the first deal over the phone for thousands of dollars on a virtual handshake. LEDO Pizza and Grasso Foods have been partners since. He was a great man of huge integrity.

  17. Joe Del Grosso

    Janet,rnI just wanted to tell you how much i enjoyed working with Joe and the entire Grasso family of employees of the last 30 years.I am sure he will be sadly missed by all.rn

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