Joseph John Gavern, 97, of Scranton, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Monday afternoon. He was the loving husband for 68 years of Catherine Marie Gavern, formerly Catherine Verrastro, of Dunmore.
Joe was born on April 23, 1923, in Scranton to the late Frank and Ida Pietrarelli Gavern. He was a graduate of Scranton High School. Following high school, Joe enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed in Guam in the South Pacific during World War II. He was a machinist and maintenance engineer supporting the war effort as a private first class. Following the War, Joe took classes in mechanics and technical training before moving to Shelton, Conn., to work for Sikorsky Aircraft. In 1949, he returned to Scranton and for more than 35 years worked for Chamberlain Manufacturing (formerly Hoffman Machinery) and became the chief supervisor of the maintenance department until his retirement in 1988. In 1950, Joe met the love of his life Catherine Verrastro, thanks to the encouragement of Joe’s sister, Rosemarie, who was engaged to Catherine’s brother, Canio. Joe and Catherine were married a year later, July 7, 1951, in Dunmore, Pa.
Joe devoted his life to providing for his family through hard work and ingenuity. When he was not working at Chamberlain, Joe was a general contractor building and repairing houses using his engineering and analytical background. He could solve any problem. Joe spent time helping his family and friends and was always there for those who needed help. Joe loved working in his vegetable garden and many Sunday’s were spent baking loaves of bread for his family, neighbors and friends. Following his retirement, Joe developed a love of golf which he played almost every day into his 90’s. He enjoyed nothing more than a round of golf with his friends at Pine Hills CC and sharing stories and playing cards at the 19th hole. Joe’s perfect day would start with breakfast at Sharon’s Place, followed by golf at Pine Hills. In his later years, he enjoyed watching Yankee games and Westerns with his wife, and spending time with his great-grandchildren.
Joe is survived by his children, Cheryl Lewis and her husband, Scott, of Dalton, Pa.; Joseph Gavern and his wife, Yoko, of Santa Monica, Calif.; Denise McNamara and her husband, Thomas, of Concord, Mass.; a grandchild, Jennifer Lewis and her wife, Georgeann, of Sharon, Mass.; a brother, Frank Gavern, of Dunmore; stepgrandchildren, Peter McNamara and his wife, Hayley, of New York City; Sarah McNamara Wetegrove and her husband, Nick, of San Francisco, Calif.; Henry McNamara and his fiancée, Laura Belair, of New York City; great-grandchildren, Madeleine and Grayson Lewis; along with many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his brothers, Nicholas and Amadeo (Mato); and his sister, Rosemarie Verrastro.
Consistent with guidance concerning COVID-19, a private burial service will be held at St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow, Pa. A memorial Mass service will be celebrated at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be made to St. Joseph’s Center, 2010 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA 18509.
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