In Memoriam: Dr. Joseph J. Bentivegna

Dr. Joseph J. Bentivegna

June 8, 1928 – March 6, 2011

Joe Bentivegna was a long-time member and supporter of IFAFA. He was born in Dunmore, PA, and passed away at his home in Loretto, PA.

“Dr. Joe” earned his degrees in sociology, rehabilitation counseling and vocational rehabilitation. He worked his way through college as a chef, rising to the position of garde-manager at the Sagamore resort in upstate NY and the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, FL.

He began his academic career in 1957 at St. Francis College where he served as an assistant dean and assistant professor of education. He became director of one of the country’s first Upward Bound programs where he helped thousands of disadvantaged high school students receive an education and attend college.

He alsotaught for many years t the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Johnstown and served as President of Bender Electric Company in Carrolltown. In later years, he was a hospital administrator and established a private practice as a vocational expert.

Joe was very proud of his Italian heritage. He was the founder and director of the Pirandello Club, the Italian Heritage Society and the Italian Musicale, and hosted a weekly Italian radio program. He was a member of the Governor’s Folklore Council and a board member of the American Italian Historical Association and of IFAFA. His wife, Patricia Bentivegna joined him in his love of Italian culture and in his support of IFAFA over the years.

“Dr. Joe” is also remembered for his operatic tenor voice and instrumental talents. He was an avid bird-watcher, cook, and gardener. He firmly believed that the measure of the worth of any civilization was found in the quality of its tomatoes.

Dr. Joe will be missed.

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