LTC (US Army RET) Joseph Dominick Spinelli, Sr., of Carlisle, passed away peacefully on April 9 with family at his bedside. He had recently celebrated his 100th birthday.
Mr. Spinelli was born February 27, 1919, in Bolivar, PA, the middle of seven children of Antonia Ciotoli and Lawrence Spinelli. He graduated from Bolivar High School in 1937 and enrolled at the Pennsylvania State College the following year where he trained with the ROTC program. He served in WWII in the 389th INF, 98th DIV in the Pacific Theatre and in Japan until 1946. At Camp Breckenridge, KY, he met and married Mary Elizabeth McGinnis, an Ohio native. They raised 10 children together until her death in 1982.
In 1948, Mr. Spinelli earned a master’s degree at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. He returned to service as an infantry officer and served an additional 30 years. He was assigned to units in West Berlin; the Korean Peninsula; the Panama Canal Zone where he commanded the 5th BN, 20th INF; MACV* in Saigon, the Republic of Vietnam. He also taught military science at Johns Hopkins University and what was then the Henderson State College in Arkansas. Upon his retirement in 1976, he taught military history for 10 years at the Valley Forge Military Academy and Junior College in Wayne, PA.
Awards and citations include the Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Expert Infantryman Badge; National Defense Service Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; Army of Occupation Medal (Japan); Vietnam Service Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm; Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal; Joint Services Commendation Medal.
Mr. Spinelli is survived by two sisters, Pauline Rudolph of Greensburg, and Theresa Haines of Columbia, MD; two daughters, Mary Bolling of Enterprise, AL, and Elizabeth Balmert (Neil) of San Diego; and four sons, Nicholas (Susan) of Orrtanna, Joseph, Jr. (Karen) of Centennial, CO, Robert (Melisa) of Camp Hill, and Edward (Caroline) of Winchester, VA. One son-in-law, Samuel Stone of Enterprise, AL, and a daughter-in-law, Lucinda Spinelli of Ft. Myers, FL, also survive. Joseph was blessed with the love of 24 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren. He is also survived by stepson Alistair Johnstone, stepdaughter Zoe Johnstone, and stepson-in-law Paul Sorgi.
He was preceded in death by three brothers, Philip, Nicholas, and George Spinelli; one sister, Palmina; his second wife, Jean Johnstone; two daughters, Mary Stone and Rosemary Carroll; and two sons, John and James.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, 2019 St. Patrick Catholic Church, 85 Marsh Drive Carlisle, PA 17015 with Rev. Martin O. Moran III officiating. Interment will take place at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery. A viewing will be held from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Saturday at the church.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Hoffman Funeral Home and Crematory, 2020 West Trindle Road Carlisle, PA 17013.