DANBURY, Conn. -- Joseph DePalma, of Prospect, died Sunday, Aug. 14. He was 54.
DePalma had been an art teacher at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury for over 30 years. In 2006, he was awarded Teacher of the Year for his dedication to his students.
His passion for art extended beyond the classroom. DePalma was known for his drama set designs and for decorating the school. He touched the lives of many people, especially his students, with his thoughtfulness and generosity.
DePalma was an inspiration during his battle with cancer and maintained the attitude that he was living with cancer and not dying with it.
Since his wife, Karen, was a member of Brave at Heart, a cancer survivors group, he designed the group's logo and decorated its Relay for Life site.
He graduated from Central Connecticut State University with Bachelor of Arts and master's degrees in art education. He was also a communicant of St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church in Prospect.
He was the husband of the late Karen (Daley) DePalma and was born in the Bronx, N.Y., on Aug. 14, 1962, the son of Erminia (Maneggia) DePalma of Charlestown, R.I., and the late Anthony John DePalma.
In addition to his mother, DePalma is survived by a son, Joshua Thomas DePalma of Prospect; a daughter, Jessica Patrice DePalma of Prospect; a sister, Andrea Florkowski, and her husband, Roger, of Clover, S.C.; two brothers, John Anthony DePalma and his wife, Patricia, of Sarasota, Fla., and Stephen DePalma and his wife, Diane, of Danbury; two nieces, Ashlee and Renee; and three nephews, John, Michael and Ryan.
Calling hours will be held at at St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church, 4 Union City Road, Prospect, on Wednesday, Aug, 17, from 4 to 8 p.m.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated Thursday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m. at the church. Family and friends are asked to meet directly at the church. Private burial will be at St James Cemetery in Naugatuck.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1075 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, CT 06708. To place online condolences, visit this link.