Obituary: Joseph S. D’Orazio, Local Business Luminary and Community Servant, Dies at 84

Joseph S. D’Orazio. (Courtesy photograph.)

Joseph S. “Sonny” D’Orazio, a well-known figure in Haverhill’s business community, a recent Northern Essex Community College trustee, avid golfer and active volunteer, died the day after Christmas at age 84.

He was born in Haverhill Dec. 12, 1937, son of the late Achille and Marion (Nisdeo) D’Orazio. He attended Haverhill schools and was a 1956 graduate of Haverhill High School where he lettered in baseball and basketball. He went on to attend Suffolk University on a full four-year baseball scholarship.

D’Orazio worked for Berkshire Life Insurance Co. from 1960 to 1962 and then for the Prudential Insurance Company of America in 1962 as an insurance agent. He was selected and completed a course in management under the direction of the Prudential Insurance Company and was promoted to manager 1966. In 1970, he accepted a position as general manager for John Donnelly & Sons outdoor advertising, managing the firm’s Vermont, New Hampshire and Haverhill markets. In 1977, he accepted a position as vice president in charge of business development, public relations and marketing at Haverhill National Bank. During that time, he attended and graduated from the American Bankers Association, Essentials of Banking School, held at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind. In 1980 he established G & L Enterprises, a business dealing with promotional products, executive gifts and fundraising which he continued to operate until 2017.

D’Orazio was appointed a trustee at Northern Essex Community College by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2015.

He was an avid golfer, winning many tournaments at the Haverhill Golf and Country Club where he served on the board of directors as treasurer and as president. He was also very active in collegiate basketball officiating throughout New England. He was past president and member of the Northeast Board #130 Basketball Officials, and a life member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials.

D’Orazio cared deeply about his community and was active in many organizations. He served as chairman and 14-year member of the Haverhill Planning Board, chairman and member of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, vice-president and member of the board of directors of the Hale Hospital Foundation, member of the board of directors of Greater Haverhill Foundation, Downtown Haverhill Partnership, Haverhill Recreational Commission and Bradford Historical Commission. He was also an active member of the Garibaldi Club, Sons of Italy and Rotary Club of Haverhill.

D’Orazio died at Bridges by EPOCH in Andover.

He was predeceased by his loving wife Joanne V. (Lebro) D’Orazio who passed away in 2017, son Gary F. D’Orazio who passed away in 2017 and daughter Lisa J. Dion who passed away in 2016, sister Norma C. Goddu who passed away in 2010, brother Anthony D’Orazio Sr. who passed away in 1990 and sister Elena (D’Orazio) Grassi who passed away in 1985.

He leaves behind his brother-in-law, Roger Goddu of Bradford, granddaughter Tara L. Dion and her fiancé Christopher J. Blanchette of Haverhill, grandson Brandon P. Dion of Haverhill, and his great grandchildren Brooke P. Blanchette and Lucas C. Blanchette as well as several nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend his calling hours on Tuesday, Jan. 4, from 4-7 p.m., at H.L. Farmer & Sons Bradford Funeral Home, 210 S. Main St., Bradford. His funeral begins from the Bradford funeral home Wednesday morning, Jan. 5 at 10, followed by a Funeral Mass of Christian Burial at 11 in Sacred Hearts Church, 165 S, Main St., Bradford. Interment will be in Linwood Cemetery, Haverhill. Contributions in his memory may be made to Sacred Hearts Food Pantry, 48 So. Chestnut St., Bradford, MA 01835.

A celebration of life will be held for D’Orazio during the summer.

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