Joseph DiGennaro


12:00 pm
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
St. Gertrude RC Church
28 School Street
Bayville, New York, United States

Final Resting Place

Locust Valley Cemetery
Ryefield Road
Locust Valley, New York, United States

Obituary of Joseph Francis DiGennaro

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Professor, coach, athlete, author, husband, father and grandfather - Dr. Joseph DiGennaro was many things. After a short battle with cancer, he passed away on March 2nd, 2024 at age 85. Born and raised in The Bronx, Dr. DiGennaro was the middle child of three boys living in a 12 family home where everyone was related at 1839 Sedgwick Avenue. He was a unique breed of both athlete and academic. After graduating from Cardinal Hayes High School in The Bronx, Dr. DiGennaro went on to attend Hunter College, where he studied health and physical education, as well as playing varsity baseball (1956-1961) and varsity basketball (1956-1960). Post graduation in 1961, he took a graduate assistantship at the University of Illinois, teaching classes while earning his masters degree in health by 1962. He completed his schooling with a doctorate in education at Columbia University in 1968. In 1967, he met the love of his life, Jo-Tina Colicchio, who was a student at Hunter College. The couple was married December 16th of that year at Sts.Philip & James Church in The Bronx, followed by a reception at the Statler Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. They lived in an apartment in Yonkers where they welcomed their first child, JoAnn in 1969 before moving to a condominium at Coachlight Square in Montrose, NY. Dr. DiGennaro taught health & physical education at Hunter College in The Bronx from 1962-69 then at Lehman College in The Bronx from 1969-1995. He served as Lehman's chair of the Health and Physical Education Department from 1983-1989 and then again from 1994-1995. Two more children followed, Joseph Jr. in 1971 and John in 1975. In 1977, the family bought their home on Long Island in the village of Bayville as Dr. DiGennaro took a leave of absence from Lehman to teach at Long Island University's C.W. Post campus. He returned to Lehman in 1978. A fourth child, James completed the family in 1981. Despite retiring from his full time position as professor at Lehman, Dr. DiGennaro continued to teach health and physical education as an adjunct professor at C.W. Post and Hofstra University from 1995-1998. He then taught at the private high school, Portledge School, from 1998-2001 as well as Nassau Community College from 2001-2009. During his lifetime, Dr. DiGennaro published two books, "Individualized Exercise and Optimal Physical Fitness" in 1974 and "The New Physical Fitness: Exercise for Everybody" in 1983. He received the "Volunteer of the Year" award for "Outstanding Service to the Community" from the Bayville Chamber of Commerce for his years coaching little league baseball and CYO basketball. In 1987, Dr. DiGennaro was inducted into the Hunter College Athletic Hall of Fame for his years as co-captain of both the varsity baseball and basketball teams. He also coached track & field plus basketball , leading his team to victory in the Knickerbocker Conference in 1967. A true family man, Dr. DiGennaro documented his lineage by directing a film about his life growing up in the 12 apartment family house in The Bronx entitled "1839" in 1996. He even self-published a book about his father, a New York City police officer, called "Phil Da Cop" in 2003. Throughout his life, Dr. DiGennaro was an avid athlete, playing tennis, golfing, running, swimming and skiing, from which he developed his nickname "Smoothie" from his moves on the slopes. In 1977, he ran the Yonkers marathon and followed that up with two half-marathons in the early '80s on Long Island. He was a devout Catholic parishioner of St. Gertrude's R.C. Church in Bayville. Dr. DiGennaro is survived by his wife Jo-Tina, children JoAnn (Dave), Joseph (Aimee), John (Lauren) and James (Johanna), grandchildren Thomas, Daniel, Juliana, Emma, Kayla, George and Oliver as well as brothers Michael and P.J. (Elaine). He is predeceased by his parents Phil and Rose.

A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Gertrude's R.C. Church in Bayville on Tuesday, March 5th at 12:00 p.m. followed by an interment at Locust Valley Cemetery, under the direction of Oyster Bay Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to: HPS Network, One South Road, Oyster Bay, NY 11771 or in his name.

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