NEW CASTLE, PA (MyValleyTributes) – Joseph Ralph Cambro, 85, of New Castle, passed peacefully from this world, just after midnight on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, surrounded by, as so many of us wish for our final hours, those he loved deeply.
Born July 11, 1933, in New Castle, the son of the late Joseph Cambro, Sr. and Josephine (Riggio) Cambro, Joe graduated from New Castle High School in 1951, completed his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics as an active servicemember and ultimately earned a Master’s Degree in Advanced Mathematics from Westminster College.
A proud veteran, Joe served as an aeronautical engineer and sergeant in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict.
His beloved wife of 25 years, the former Ann “Dolly” Elisco, passed away April 12, 1983. As a relatively young widower, Joe embraced single parenthood to become an emotional anchor for his three daughters and their offspring. He was affectionately known by several names, depending on your relationship, Joe, Sonny, Daddy and Poppee.
The child of a working-class, Italian-American family of immigrants, he weathered the Great Depression in early childhood and his life became a testament to the best qualities of the greatest generation.
Nurturing a love of math and science led him to become an engineer and eventually, a widely admired public math teacher. After 36 years in the classroom, he retired in 1995 as chair of the mathematics department at Hickory High School.
Aside from his time at sea, New Castle was Joe’s lifelong home. A devoted community servant since its postwar heyday, he remained loyal to his roots, even as the area was crippled by deindustrialization.
Always a Marine, Joe lived each day in the comforting precision of routines honed over decades, though in many ways, he was not a typical military man. His personality was unflinchingly gentle, with a penchant for deadpan humor and general goofery, that provided a constant font of levity to those around him. Still, he was a fierce protector and a steady hand no matter the situation. To have Joe in your corner was to feel safe and blessed in the face of any challenge. In all things, he was a selfless man of diverse talents, including gardening, carpentry and fishing.
He is survived by three daughters, Stephanie of New Wilmington, Alisa of Florida and Jolene of New Castle; sister, Marcy of Florida; a brother, Ralph; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife and parents, Joe was preceded in death by a brother, Lee; sister, Dolores and a lifelong best friend, Carl Gatts.
Calling hours will be 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Friday, April 12, 2019, in J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 111 West Falls Street, New Castle.
Funeral service will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 13, 2019, at Highland Presbyterian Church, 708 Highland Avenue, New Castle, with Reverend Rich Kinney, officiating. Full military honors rendered immediately prior to the service, at 10:45 a.m.
Interment will take place at St. Vitus Cemetery, Shenango Township.
A television tribute will air Friday, April 12 at the following approximate times: 12:25 p.m. WKBN, 6:58 p.m. on MyYTV and 10:37 p.m. FOX plus two additional spots throughout the day.