Joseph Amorelli

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Joseph Amorelli,79, of Marquette, Michigan, died Friday, March 1, 2013, at his home in the loving care of his family and Lake Superior Hospice.

He was born April 19, 1933, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to the late Salvatore and Effie (Toppiing) Amorelli. Shortly after his birth, his father died and he was raised in Nekooska and Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

In 1952, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, was an expert marksman, worked as a helicopter-aircraft mechanic, mostly OE1/L-19s in the VMA-323 Marine Air Wing Squadron during the Korean Conflict, receiving several service medals and citations. He then transferred to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve-Aviation.

After completing his service he worked as an apprentice carpenter in San Francisco, California, then decided to enlist in the U.S. Air Force in 1958. He worked as a flight mechanic and crew chief on various types of aircraft/jet, KB50, including a C-123 named “Patches” that had a history of taking many hits in combat and the repairs that covered it. He proudly served his country, traveled extensively, and participated in many aerial missions during the Vietnam Era. During his career, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement during aerial reconnaissance missions as an EC-47 flight mechanic in the Republic of Vietnam 23 May 1967, received 5 OLC Air medals, several citations and commendations.

On November 14, 1963, he married his loving wife, Tokiko Isozaki, at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, and then relocated to Washington, D.C., and other bases across the country, and finally to the former K.I. Sawyer AFB, retiring in 1975 as a Master Sergeant.

After retirement, he took some specialty courses at ITT Technical Institute and then worked for Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company about 20 years as a plant repairman for the Empire Mine and operator of the open pit trucks prior to his final retirement. He loved the Upper Peninsula and being outdoors, hunting and fishing, and had been a longtime member of Gwinn VFW Post 5670, and enjoyed years of cribbage and card games, camaradiere of those at the club and casino. He was a member of the National Rifle Association, early morning workouts at the YMCA, avid reader, excellent at trivia and word games, a fine carpenter who could build or repair just about anything and mostly loved spending time with family and grandson, Blake.

He was a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather, and good friend to many, and will be missed greatly. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Tokiko; daughter, Yumi; his grandson, Blake; son-in-law, William; sister, Jaime Kelley from Wisconsin Rapids, WI; nieces, Karrie James and Kristin (Steve) Stilp from Madison, WI, and Susan Plaski from Nevada; nephew, Tim Plaski from Nevada; great-nieces, Lisa Lorenzo and Cheyenne Walhart from Nevada; great nephew, Damien Plaski; grand niece, Kacie James and grand nephew, Matthew James of Eau Claire, WI; and other family located throughout the United States and Japan.

He was preceded in death by his parents and stepfather, Van Zastava; sister, Margaret Plaski; two infant brothers; stepsisters, Bonnie O’Day and Nancy Kester; and his beloved cat, Misty.

A private memorial service with military honors will be held at the Park Cemetery at a future date. Those wishing to make an expression of sympathy may be directed to consider the American Cancer Society or American Heart Association.

The Fassbender Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at