SUMMIT, NJ - Long-time Springfield resident Joseph Pepe Jr. has died.
According to the obituary published by Bradley Funeral Home, Pepe passed away on Feb. 2 at age 84. His memorial service will be held at Bradley, Borough and Dangler Funeral Home on Feb. 9 at 10:00 a.m., with internment to follow at St. Teresa cemetery in Summit.
Pepe was born and raised in Springfield, living in town for 65 years before he moved to Martinsville, NJ. He graduated from Jonathan Dayton High School in 1952, where he played football and baseball. After high school, he served in the United States Army and National Guard before working as a Warehouse Manager at Carpenter Technology in Union, NJ.
After the untimely passing of his son, Joe Pepe III in 2004, he retired from the position a year later and opened Varsity Jackets Plus, a company that provided letterman jackets to high school students. Pepe was a familiar presence in the halls of Jonathan Dayton High School, where he could often be seen helping students with the selection of their varsity jackets.
In an effort to memorialize his son, Pepe and his wife started the Joe Pepe III Memorial Scholarship Fund. Every year, Jonathan Dayton High School hosts an annual holiday basketball tournament over Christmas break to help raise money for the scholarship.
Jonathan Dayton Athletic Director and Physical Education supervisor Lance Jacobs had plenty of contact with Pepe throught his time at the high school. In an email response, he said that having Pepe around the office was something he always counted on.
"In the twelve years as Jonathan Dayton’s AD there was one constant; Mr. Pepe’s stoic presence at athletic events and frequent visits to the athletic department office," Jacobs said. "His presence will be sorely missed."
Along with his other actions in town, Pepe was also a former member of the Springfield Board of Education.
Pepe is survived by Steven Pepe and his wife Beverly, Daniel Pepe and his wife Cathy. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Kendell Pepe and her fiancé Vince, Steven Pepe, Daniel Pepe and Jake Pepe.
In lieu of flowers, the obituary requests that donations in Pepe’s memory may be made to the Joseph Pepe III Memorial Scholarship Fund. 36 Ashwood Rd., New Providence, NJ 07974.