March 1, 2003: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Obituaries: Buffalo News: Philippines RPCV Joseph Sperrazza dies in Buffalo

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Philippines: Peace Corps Philippines: The Peace Corps in the Philippines: March 1, 2003: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Obituaries: Buffalo News: Philippines RPCV Joseph Sperrazza dies in Buffalo

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Philippines RPCV Joseph Sperrazza dies in Buffalo

Philippines RPCV Joseph Sperrazza dies in Buffalo


Mar 1, 2003 - Buffalo News

Whether he was working as an administrator in the Buffalo Public Schools or as a Peace Corps volunteer in poor villages in the Philippines, the driving force in Joseph Sperrazza's life was helping teachers to help children.

Sperrazza, 57, was remembered Friday by family members and colleagues as a caring and hard-working educator. He died Thursday night (Feb. 27, 2003) in Sisters Hospital, following a brief illness.

A Buffalo Schools employee since 1970, Sperrazza had been planning for retirement from his position as director of instructional employment and affirmative action in the city school district.

"I was absolutely devastated to hear the news of Joe's passing," Schools Superintendent Marion Canedo said Friday. "Joe was a consummate professional who truly loved children. I can't begin to tell you how much he will be missed by everyone here."

"My father was a teacher's teacher," said Sperrazza's daughter, Christine Sperrazza Elliott of New York City. "He really loved working with young teachers, helping them to get established and helping them to become better teachers."

An Amherst resident who grew up in North Buffalo, Sperrazza had master's degrees in education and education administration from Buffalo State College.

He frequently recalled with pride the work he did in the Philippines in 1967-69. After graduating from Canisius College, he volunteered for the Peace Corps and was assigned to educate and assist teachers in Filipino schools.

His family said Sperrazza's great admiration for the late Robert F. Kennedy inspired him to join the Peace Corps and help the poor.

It was in the Philippines that he met a young teacher named Jojie Gomez, whom he would bring back to Buffalo and marry in 1970.

Sperrazza taught English at Bennett High School, Southside Junior High and the Futures Academy before taking his first administrative job in 1984 at City Hall, where he was assigned to oversee Home School operations. He later worked as an assistant principal at School No. 38, and at the Academic Challenge School, where his principal was Canedo.

Sperrazza was a supervisor of elementary education and a supervisor of personnel for the district before taking on his most recent job in 1999.

"Even amidst the constant stresses we work under as administrators, Joe was always very people-focused," Canedo said. "He helped us all remember that people come first."

His precollege education was at St. Rose of Lima Elementary School and St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute.

He was active with the local chapter of the Peace Corps Alumni Association, on the executive board of the Buffalo Council of School Administrators, and on the parish council at Christ The King Church in Snyder. He was past local president of the Phi Delta Kappa educational fraternity.

His hobbies included gardening, travel and genealogy.

Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by two sisters, Sandra Cammarata of Buffalo and Jacqueline Hensel of Clarence; and a brother, John, of Buffalo.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday in Christ the King Church, 30 Lamarck Drive. Prayers will be said at 10:15 a.m. in the Sauer-Lynett-Amigone Funeral Home, 1933 Kensington Ave., Cheektowaga. Burial will be in Forest Lawn.


When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Buffalo News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Philippines; Obituaries



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