Portland-Joseph (Giuseppe) Penna, passed away peacefully at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House on February 12, 2019, with his loving wife and family by his side. He was born May 30, 1928 to Gaetano (Guy) Penna and Nunziata (Nancy) Parrisi in Portland Maine.
From the age of 2 to 19 Joseph lived in Nola, Napoli, Italy. He returned to the United States in 1948 and lived for a short while with his Parrisi family in New York City where he worked as a singer in night clubs along with various other jobs that included the Nestle Chocolate factory. Later on, he moved back to Portland, Maine to be with his Penna family. He continued his singing career as well as working at the Thomas Laughlin Company until he landed an opportunity to work for Southworth Machine in 1951. He won the hearts of management when he walked from Portland St. to Warren Avenue to complete his job application. Joseph was a loyal employee and after 42 years as a machinist retiring in 1993. He was a well-known union and labor council president at the local, state and national level. He was very proud to be an American and to have the opportunity to represent his fellow workers. A veteran of the US armed forces, Joseph spent 10 years in the US Army and National Guard. Civically he served twice as the Grand Exalted Ruler of the Portland Elks Club and on the board of directors at the Italian Heritage Center and Masonic Lodge located at Woodfords Corner, Portland, Maine.
Joseph was well known for his beautiful Italian tenor voice. Luther Bonney recruited him to sing for Portland Jr. College graduations he was also a candidate for the Metropolitan Opera and won the US Army talent contest “Talent Scout” which included a debut on national radio with host Danny Kaye. Locally he sang regularly with Arthur Kendal, Ken MacKenzie and many weddings, funerals, churches, and clubs. He was most proud of singing at all of his children’s and grandchildren’s weddings.
Joseph loved his family above all else! All of his children, their spouses, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, knew that ”Bampi” had their back, no matter the circumstances. He made the best Italian sandwiches and would create a delicious pasta dish for visitors. His most delectable creations were reserved for the holidays and have been passed down to his family in order to preserve the traditions of Italian family life.
Joseph Penna is survived by his loving wife, Irene (Conti) Penna. His children and spouses-daughter Nancy (Penna) Curran and husband John F.Curran, son Dr. Joseph G. Penna and wife Dr. Demitroula Kouzounas and son Paul A Penna and wife Sandra F Noble. Grandchildren and spouse or significant other-Maria (Curran) & Butch Russell, Matthew Curran & Rachel (Morrison), Dr. Nichol (Penna) & Dr. Douglas Delli Colli, Joseph W. Penna & Christina Gentile, Katelynn (Penna) & Paul Berube, Nicholas Penna & Brittani Roussel. Great-Grandchildren, Connor, Reilly & Avery Russell, Lena Delli Colli, Marlow Curran, and Lydia Berube. Siblings Maddelana (Penna) Manzi and Paulo Penna both of Italy.
Visiting Hours will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 from 4 to 7 PM at A.T. Hutchins Funeral Home 660 Brighton Avenue in Portland. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, February 25, 2019, at 10 AM at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Federal Street in Portland. Burial with military honors will follow in New Calvary Cemetery in South Portland. We will all miss him greatly and remember him with a song in our heart.