With deep sadness, we announce the passing of Joseph DeRenzis, 78, of Chandler AZ, on January 8, 2019.
Joe was born May 18, 1940 in Bronx, N.Y. Joe was stricken with polio at a young age and much of his childhood was spent in and out of hospitals. But he still had many positive memories from his youth, fondly sharing stories of his time spent at an upstate NY bungalow, playing with his sister and cousins, and studying wildlife. He also enjoyed a lifelong friendship with Richard Neadle, who was his best man at his wedding.
He met his life partner and loving wife Joanie at a youth group for polio survivors. They were married January 14, 1968. Their daughter Sandra Michelle was born 1972.
He was a civil engineer and worked at the New York Department of Transportation until his retirement. He had much fun with his co-workers, Jim, Dan, Al, Sophia, Nellie and many more, and always had many funny stories to tell about work.
Joe’s true passion was always photography, and it was rare to see him without a camera. A founding member of the Co-op City Camera group, he won many awards for his photographs. He was also an active member of the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society and was featured in the newspaper as the Turtle Guy of the Bronx.
In 2002, Joe and Joanie started a new and exciting chapter in their life when they relocated to Chandler, AZ. They loved their new house and Joe found a new passion in his BBQ grill and smoker. Much time and effort went in to perfecting his BBQ ribs! They joined a group for polio survivors, made new friends, bought an accessible van that Joe could drive from his wheelchair, and enjoyed many outings together. Joe especially liked watching and photographing wheelchair rugby. Joanie passed away on January 16, 2015 after a long illness. Joe spent the last 8 months in a care home were he was lovingly cared for by his new best friend and caregiver Victor and his family, by Grace and her family, and where he enjoyed spending time with Dave and Bill.
Joe is survived by his daughter Sandra (Smith), son-in-law Jonathan and four grandchildren: Greg, Scott, Daniel and Jilliana. He is also survived by his sister Tina (Luby) and family, and by family friend Digna Saenz, and her son Alex, whom Joe considered another grandson.
Joseph joins his blessed wife Joanie in heaven.