Joseph Victor Alfano was born September 22, 1942, in Pittston, Pennsylvania to Joseph Angelo Alfano and Josephine Madelena Barberis. He had one brother (Phil) and the princess of the family was his little sister (Marie). Joe loved calling his sister Marie daily and they often talked about the good ol’ days. Joe always ended those phone calls with “Love you madly. Ciao! Ciao!” He was preceded in death by his parents (Joe & Josie), Nona, and Uncle Mondo.
At age 3, he and his family moved to sunny California. He was born with a talent for music. His parents nurtured that love of music by buying him his first saxophone and upright string bass (which he still owned and played). He earned a master’s in music from San Jose State University. He taught instrumental music classes to a range of students from young kindergarteners to college undergraduates. He really enjoyed teaching guitar classes at Cal State Hayward and opening up Cal High’s music department. But his favorite students to teach were in elementary school where he often had 60 students in each class. Joe retired after teaching music for 46 years in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (from 1966 – 2012).
He met the love of his life (Sharon Reeve) when he needed a last-minute substitute piano player for a talent show. They were married on August 17, 1968, and have been married for 52 years. He loved the Reeve family and said they brought much happiness into his life. Joe and Sharon raised their family in Pleasanton, California. He made it known that his “pride and joy” was not only his black VW Bug and dog Bocce, but his three children. He recently said, “My 3 kids were the kind of children where I liked to show them off to my friends and fellow teachers. And all these years later, I am still proud of them!” Happiness for Joe was being a father and a grandfather. He loved making pizza (the way his Italian grandmother taught him) and made sure all his grandchildren could carry on this tradition of pizza making and delivering whole pizzas to friends and neighbors.
He loved being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and serving in various callings. Highlights included serving in the Pleasanton 1st Ward bishopric with Bruce McLeod, Brent Cromar, Fred Wolters, and Tim Bean, being the ward choir director, ward missionary, home teacher, and volunteering at the Bishop’s storehouse with Don Anderson where he got to drive a forklift. He loved making his homemade dough to fry up for scones at P1’s Chili Cook-Off’s yearly fundraiser supporting the youth’s summer activities. If there was music, Joe was there. Church service isn’t always a calling. He played for countless stake and ward activities. He supported the youth choir, roadshows, dance festivals and helped other activities whenever asked. He also loved being part of the Bell Choir every Christmas. He was a great supporter of all musical events!
For decades his band, All Of A Kind’s core members consisted of Joe on saxophone, Al Cottrell on keyboards/vocals, Bob Erickson on drums, and Neil Underwood on trumpet. They played at countless wedding receptions, New Year’s Eve celebrations, and even for the Hells Angels. Joe’s parents (Joe and Josie) loved dancing to his band, All Of A Kind’s rendition of “Spanish Eyes”. We will never be able to hear “Celebrate”, “Brick House” or “Unforgettable” without thinking about our Dad (aka Papa Joe) and his band. His last gig was a saxophone solo “When I Fall In Love” at his grandson Tyler’s wedding reception for their first dance.
He and Sharon retired to Southern Utah where they moved across the street from their favorite son and his family. Joe loved sitting outside while waving to all his neighbors, going on adventures with his buddy Dale and the opportunities he had to DJ their neighborhood’s Monday Night Concerts in the park.
Joe is survived by his wife Sharon, daughter Christine (Devin) Fisher, son Michael (Nicole), daughter Elizabeth (Steve) Marino, granddaughter Emily, grandsons Tyler (Jocelyn), Jake (Shelby), Joey, Matty, Luke, sister Marie (Al) Levasseur, brother Phil Alfano, and numerous nephews, nieces and extended family members whom he loved dearly.
His entire family will miss him greatly but find peace in knowing he has reunited with many beloved family members, friends, and his best friend – Uncle Mondo. As a family, we would like to thank all the wonderful caregivers – Patty, Cindy, Sierra, Ellie, and Laura. We will always be grateful for them and their helping hands. Until we meet again, “Love you madly. Ciao! Ciao!”
The Graveside service is on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at 12:00 noon at Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 S Dixie Dr., St. George, Utah.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah, (435) 673-2454. Friends and family are invited to sign Joseph’s online guest book at www.spilsburymortuary.com.