STEUBENVILLE - Family, legal colleagues and friends are remembering attorney Joseph J. Bruzzese Sr. today.
According to his son Frank Bruzzese, his 94-year old father died Monday the way he lived life, "moving forward."
"He was a man always moving forward. He was always looking ahead to what was next," Frank Bruzzese said Tuesday night.
"His philosophy was simple and direct. Do your job and do it right now. When he saw a problem he considered it, resolved the problem and moved on. He lived his life as a model for all of his children and family," Frank said.
"In many ways he was symbolic of his service in the Army during World War II. He was the leader of a platoon in the first wave of troops landing at Normandy on D-Day. The way those guys fought that battle was the way my dad acted later in life. He spent 60 years in the practice of law. He protected and provided for his family. And, he worked hard for anyone who needed his help," continued Frank Bruzzese.
"Our dad was a book lawyer. He always researched his theories and found good solid ground for his legal principles. Dad wasn't a stylish lawyer, but he was a winner and the reason was his sincerity. That sincerity showed through to anyone who listened to him," remarked Frank Bruzzese.
"He was holding my mom's hand when she died two years ago. He looked so tired I didn't think he could keep going. But my wife told me, 'Your father isn't afraid to die, but he doesn't want to miss anything'," related Frank Bruzzese.
A Funeral Liturgy with Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Holy Family Catholic Church. Calling hours are 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Mosti Funeral Home Sunset Chapel.
"Mr. Bruzzese was great. He was a classic. There are simply no other words to describe him," attorney Joe Corabi said Tuesday afternoon.
" My father and Mr. Bruzzese were very good friends, so he knew me forever. I practiced my very first case as a lawyer with Mr. Bruzzese. It was a product liability case and Mr. Bruzzese taught me a lot about the law and about life," recalled Corabi.
"He was a true leader in the community. Mr. Bruzzese was his own man. He was funny, a very good lawyer and he had incredible courtroom courage. He set a great example for his sons, who followed him into the legal profession. Mr. Bruzzese was well liked, admired and respected and I will miss him as will his family and friends," said Corabi.
It was a sentiment shared by attorney Mike Calabria.
"When I first met him, we were on opposite sides of many cases. He was a well established and respected attorney who was very considerate of the young attorneys. He was always willing to share information and matters of procedures even when it wasn't in his best interests," recalled Calabria.
"He was very generous with his time and helped many young attorneys to learn the ropes with no thought of renumeration," noted Calabria.
Retired Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge John J. Mascio said Bruzzese was already practicing law in Steubenville when he returned to the city with his law degree in hand.
"Joe Bruzzese was one of the better trial lawyers in the area. He had a very long and distinguished practice and was looked up by everyone. He loved this town, his family and the law. He was not only a good lawyer and an excellent tutor for the younger lawyers. He was always willing to help the younger lawyers," noted Mascio.
Attorney Casimir Adulewicz was good friends with Joseph's nephew, Jim Bruzzese.
"I met Mr. Bruzzese before I went to law school. At that time he was in the old Exchange Realty Building on Market Street. I went down to talk to him and he was very encouraging about my plans to go to law school. When I first came back he was very helpful to me. He always shared his time with the younger lawyers. But, if you had a legal problem and you went to him, Joe would ask if you had researched the issue yourself. He wanted you to do the work to help yourself. That was the teacher in him," stated Adulewicz.
"Later on he was part of our regular foursome who played golf on Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Joe always gave back to the community and was an excellent ally. He will be missed. He was a good man," added Adulewicz.
Bruzzese left his studies at Ohio Northern University to enlist in the Army.
It was a decision opposed by his parents who urged Bruzzese to finish work on his legal degree.
So, Bruzzese contacted the local draft board and asked them to deliver his draft notice the day his current quarter ended.
"I told them that I wanted to volunteer, but my mother started to cry when I was talking about going into the Army, like mothers do. I gave them the date when the quarter was going to end, and they were very efficient. That draft notice came right on the day that the quarter ended. I knew with a draft notice, I would get no qualms from my parents," Bruzzese told the Herald-Star in a 2008 interview.
Less than three years later Bruzzese was part of the D-Day invasion at Normandy, where he found himself soaked from head to toe in wool clothing on Utah beach and under intense fire from the Germans.
After the war ended, Bruzzese went home to his wife Madeline, finished law school, passed the bar examination "with ease" and raised a family of three children, Joseph Jr., Frank and Anna Robertson.
"My time with Joe dates back to 1962. Joe and I tried some cases together and we were also on opposite ends of the podium. Joe Bruzzese was always a very brilliant, industrious and hard-working attorney. I have always had great respect for Joe. His absence from the legal community in recent years was very much noticed. I miss him coming to the office and participating in discussions," remarked attorney Pete Olivito.
Attorney Adam Scurti described Bruzzese as, "a very bright, aggressive attorney and strong advocate who represented his clients with skill and knowledge. And he was a good husband and father."
Bruzzese was very involved in local politics, said Jefferson County Democratic Party Chairman John Abdalla.
"He will always be a dear friend of mine. I knew him for years. We hired him as the solicitor for Stratton and he was a very good legal representative for the village. I am very sorry to hear of his passing and my sympathies go out to his family," Abdalla commented.