Giuseppe Balistreri was born in Sant’Elia Sicily to Andrea and Anna (Machi) Balistreri. He was the oldest of ten siblings. He worked to help support his family and went to school (3rd grade) until at the age of 18 years old, he joined the Italian Merchant Marines. Giuseppe served with pride on the Liberty Nominato-Grifone-Genova, sending his pay home to his mother to support his family at home in Sant’Elia.
On a voyage to America, Giuseppe (Joe) was advised by his father to go visit a Za Angela, who he (Andrea) was dear friends with. He met the love of his life, one of her daughters, Angelina Marie Manzella. They were wed on June 7, 1952, at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco. Giuseppe and Angelina celebrated 65 years of marriage until the Lord called Angelina home on January 26, 2018. They had two children; Andrew and Anna, who were born in San Francisco and raised in North Beach until Giuseppe’s (Joe) company moved across the bay to Hayward. They bought a house in Union City in 1966 and settled there raising their family while Joe continued to work for Shasta Beverages as a bottler and was later promoted to a maintenance position. He also worked and assisted his brother-in-law, John Manzella and wife, Lola, in their restaurant in Hayward, along with Angelina. She worked there as clerical help for the next 30 plus years, until the restaurant was sold, and Angelina finally retired and joined Joe in his retirement.
Joe and Angelina were regular visitors at their local senior center in the early years of their retirement, often assisting in the kitchen and going on field trips with their friends. They used to enjoy socializing and Joe was often coaxed into singing for them, as that is what he loved to do.
Giuseppe and Angelina were active members of the Madonna Addolorata, until for health reasons they were unable to participate any longer. Giuseppe was a member of the Sons of Italy, the Pheasant Club, volunteered his time with Guide Dogs for the Blind, and attended many gatherings at the Fratellanza Club with his son and friends. He loved to cook for his family and can tomatoes from his garden; that was his pride and joy.
His family came first and was there to help them whether it involved picking up a paint brush, hammer, wrench, a crab cracker, or getting under a car. Joe could fix it or figure it out, he was self-taught.
With Angelina’s decline in health and her progression with dementia, and Joe’s advancing Alzheimer’s, it was necessary to get 24-hour care. We were very fortunate to have their sister-in-law (Joe’s brother Gaetano’s widow), Maria (Billante) Balistreri as a live-in caregiver since January 2014. Maria cared for both until Angelina was admitted into a facility and passed there on January 26, 2018. Maria continued to care for Joe in his home with the help of the wonderful and dedicated staff and caregivers at Care2Care LLC., who lovingly referred to him as, “Mr. Joe”. They were always saying how happy and loving he was, unlike other Alzheimer’s patients.
Giuseppe passed in his sleep, in his own home, with a dedicated Maria by his side at 5:45 a.m. on Friday, August 16, 2019.
Giuseppe is survived by his son, Andrew Balistreri (Mary), their grandchildren; Joseph Balistreri (Melissa), Christina Balistreri, Tommy Balistreri. Along with their daughter Anna Reay (Jonathan), their grandchildren; Christopher Reay (Sara Franklin), Michael Reay (Jessica), Daniel Reay. Giuseppe and Angelina so loved their great grandchildren; Andy and Axel Balistreri, and Charlotte and Ethan Reay. Giuseppe is also survived by his siblings; Annetta Aiello, Giovanni Balistreri (Josephine), Rita Cresci (Nunzio), Maria Faraciano (John), Antonio (Marisa), and Francesca Stryker (Paul); sister-in-law, Lola Manzella (Sargentini) and sister-in-law, Maria (Billante) Balistreri.
Giuseppe is preceded in death by his siblings; Francesca Balistreri, Gaetano Balistreri, Francesco Balistreri, and brother-in law, Ignazio Aiello, sister-in-law, Bertha Palmer, brother-in-law, Roy Palmer, and brother-in-law, John Manzella.
On August 21, 2019, a visitation and rosary will be held at Halsted N.Gray-Carew & English San Francisco. Visitation will begin at 5:00 p.m., and rosary at 7:00 p.m. A funeral/mass will be held on August 22, at 10:30 a.m. at Saints Peter and Paul Church (666 Filbert Street, San Francisco). Burial and reception to follow at Italian Cemetery, Colma. In leu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Guide Dogs for the Blind, or Pathways Hospice. The causes of these organizations have touched their family in very personal ways.