Joseph E. Januzelli
Has Anybody Here, Seen My Old Friend Joey
I Just Looked Around And He Was Gone
By Jack Coll
I waited in line at St Matthew’s Church on Friday, (February 5), I chatted with a few local fire officials waiting my turn at the front of the church. Joe Januzelli had passed away following a noble fight with Cancer and while I’ve avoided viewings and funerals like many other people over the past year visiting Joe one last time was a must.
When I had my moment with Joe I started my Hail Mary and my mind stopped the prayer and for a brief moment I thought about the residents that never knew Joe, and I felt sad for the generations of Conshohocken residents that would never get to know Joe.
After offering condolences to Beth, and the rest of Joe’s family, I was walking out of the church feeling guilty that instead of praying for Joe when I had my moment I spent my moment thinking of other residents and what they lost by not ever knowing Joe. Just for the record I finished my three “Hail Mary’s” on the walk home.
So how does someone describe Joe to the residents who never knew him? Well the record will show he was Mr. Fireman everything. Joe was a paid driver for the Washington Fire Company, he held positions in the department as a Lieutenant, Captain, 1st Assistant Chief, 1st Assistant Chief Engineer, Deputy Fire Marshall and Fire Marshall. I don’t have the exact stats or details of his career but I’m sure he dedicated more than four decades of his life as a fireman and serving the residents of this community.
So how does one describe Joe to residents and future residents who never got to know him, well I’ll take a shot at it!
Joe Januzelli was a superman wearing a fire-fighters cape, someone who never knew Joe could call him at 3 a.m. on a cold February night and asks him for help, Joe would get out of bed and go help whoever it was that called him, not kidding, that’s the kind of man Joe was.
Joe’s father Carmen was a long time Washies firefighter and his mother Rae was a lifetime member in the Washies Ladies Auxiliary. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the Washington Fire Company was the happening place to be in Conshy. In essence Joe was born into the fire company. His Uncle Sam Januzelli had in essence been the long-time boss at the fire house and since Sam’s death a million stories have been told about him, good stories, fun stories. If you hung around the fire house for a day you wanted to be part of it.
Joe lived it, breathed it and loved it, when the firemen and non-firemen alike sat around the bar telling stories down at the fire house everyone listened in when Joe was telling a story. He loved to tell a good story, he loved to laugh, and he love working on the fire trucks alongside his wife Beth.
Joe was about respecting people, I spent a fair amount of time around Joe, and he was truly one of those rare humans who didn’t talk down about anyone. He could disagree with you, and at times disagreed with his fellow-firefighters a lot, but he never spoke poorly about anyone.
I wish I had his ability to laugh and smile, and speak kindly about our friends and neighbors and strangers without reservations, Joe was Joe. It really is sad that so many residents living here today will never get to know him.
I’m a guy that lives with regrets, and I regret that I never made it clear to him how much he was loved by this community, he was loved by his fellow firefighters, his friends and neighbors and the many people he worked with-in and around the borough.
Most communities don’t get a Joe Januzelli, I feel privileged and honored to have known him. I’ll miss his smile, I’ll miss him walking past my store and stopping to say hello and tell me a story or two.
Our prayers go out to Beth, his wife and partner for nearly four decades, and all of Joe’s family. I don’t know if Joe needs our prayers seeing how he took the express straight to Heaven but we’ll send a few his way anyway.
Yea, that’s about all I have to say.