Report by Paula Antolini, November 15, 2021, 4:49PM EDT
Joseph Paul Ancona Jr.
June 4th 1933 – November 13, 2021
Posted by Joe Ancona:
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, Joseph P Ancona Jr. Joseph Paul Ancona Jr. passed away comfortably in the early morning hours of Saturday November 13, 2021. He was 88 years old. Born on June 4th 1933 in Danbury Hospital, he was the second child born to Giuseppi Ancona and Josephina Bellante Ancona both of whom were born in Palma di Montechiaro, Agrigento Sicily.
Growing up in the Branchville section of Ridgefield the young Mr. Ancona spent much of his time working with his father in the three family businesses: Ancona’s Market, Ancona’s Wine & Liquor and Branchville Hardware. During his high school years the teenage Ancona would frequently cut class to help his father and still managed to graduate from Ridgefield High School in 1951.
In 1953, 20 year old Joe enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean Conflict. Stationed at bases in Westover Massachusetts and Dover, Delaware, he rose to the rank of Staff Sergant as an aircraft service mechanic in charge of maintaining the fleet of Boeing C124 Globemaster transport planes. He was honorably discharged from the service in 1957 and returned to the family businesses in Branchville.
On September 22, 1957 Joseph Ancona married Joan Adele DeNyke at Sacred Heart Church in Georgetown. The couple had known each other since the early childhood having grown up across the street from one another.
The Ancona family faced its biggest challenge to date in 1958, when after a series of heart attacks, Joseph Ancona Sr. passed away at the age of 68 leaving Joe Jr and older brother Nazzareno to fill the void left by their father’s passing. It was decided that older brother Nazzareno would take over the responsibilities of wine and liquor store while Joe Jr. took the helm of Ancona’s Market later to be joined by youngest brother John.
Over the following five decades Ancona’s Market would become a Ridgefield institution. The brothers slowly grew their businesses through the 60’s and 70’s as the town of Ridgefield grew. It was during the late 70’s that they took their greatest leap of faith – the construction of the Ancona’s Market building located at 720 Branchville Road. The family put everything they owned up as collateral at a time when interest rates were in excess of 17%.
The new building would be more than 6 times larger than the previous facility. Ancona’s Market grew rapidly over the following two decades as did national recognition for the their innovative format. In 1982 Ancona’s Market received its first national recognition by Progressive Grocer Magazine as one of the top 212 independent food retailers in the country. Several industry awards would follow lauding the brothers’ retail innovations and expanding lists of “first in the area”. While Ancona’s Market was the first supermarket in the area to feature hot prepared foods, fine imported cheeses, freshly squeezed orange juice and many other format innovations it was our Famous Fried Chicken that would turn out be the biggest hit.
As Ancona’s Market grew so did the brothers’ generosity and support of their surrounding communities. In any given year the family donated to hundreds of community organizations ranging from religious, civic and service groups to youth sports leagues including sponsoring over one hundred Little League baseball teams.
Mr. Ancona was predeceased by his parents and his older brother Nazareno “Nano” Ancona.Mr. Ancona is survived by his loving wife of 64 years Joan DeNyke Ancona and their sons Joseph (Laura Ancona), Robert, and James (June Kim Ancona) and the “apple of his eye”, grandson Marcus Christopher, his sister Phyllis Ancona Taylor, brother John Ancona and 8 nieces and nephews.
Funeral ServicesThere will be a wake on Friday November 19th between the hours of 3:00 and 7:00 PM at Honan Funeral Home 58 Main Street Newtown, CT 06470
A Funeral Mass will be Saturday November 20th at 10:00 am at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown CT followed by burial in Ridgefield at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
In Lieu of flowers please donate to Faith Food Bank in Newtown CT http://www.newtownfoodpantry.org/