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Joseph James "Papa Joe" Prelee
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Birth: Jun. 8, 1943
Mercer County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Jul. 12, 2010
Mahoning County
Ohio, USA

YOUNGSTOWN — Joseph "Papa Joe" James Prelee of Ventura Drive, Youngstown, passed away peacefully at 12:25 a.m. Monday (7-12-10) in his residence with his family at his side, after an extended illness. He was 67.

Mr. Prelee was born June 8, 1943, in Sharon, a son of Andrew and Anne Masters Prelee.

A lifelong area resident, he graduated from the former Sacred Heart School, Sharon, and was a member of the 1962 graduating class of Sharon High School. He attended all of his class reunions from the class of 1961 and '62 and served on the committee for the class of 1962.

Mr. Prelee was an employee of the former Sharon Transformer Division of Westinghouse Electric Corp. and later of General Motors Corp.'s Lordstown (Ohio) car assembly plant where he worked in the maintenance department. He was a member of Local 1112 of United Auto Workers and was also employed by Pinkerton Security for a short time after retiring from General Motors.

Joseph was an active member of St. Patrick's Church, Hubbard, where he enjoyed helping with the Men's Renewal team in 2009.

He was a former member of the Shenango Valley Corvette Club.

An Army veteran, Mr. Prelee served from 1962 until his honorable discharge in 1965.

For 27 years, he enjoyed bowling with the Allied Pincraft League at Holiday Bowl, Struthers, Ohio; he also enjoyed going to car shows and attending 1950s dances.

His wife, the former Reba "Becky" Conway, whom he married Jan. 29, 1994, survives at home. He and Becky renewed their vows May 31, 2008, in St. Patrick's Church.

He is also survived by his sister, Mary "Babe" Horvath, Cape Coral, Fla.; his three sons, Michael Prelee and his wife Tina, Hubbard; Brian Prelee, at home; and Chris Conway and his wife Jen, Liberty; and two daughters, Andrea and her husband Nick Demes, Austintown, Ohio; and Randi Conway and her fiancé Tom Volk, at home.

He leaves: two stepsons, Eric Fusco, Hubbard; and Eddie Fusco, Mineral Ridge, Ohio; his extended in-laws including his mother-in-law, Betty Swisher; and two sisters-in-law, Rita and Bonnie Swisher, all Girard, Ohio; and two brothers-in-law, Randy Swisher and his wife Ramona, Parkersburg, W.Va.; and Vic Spurio, Liberty.

He also leaves his grandchildren, Wyatt and Jacob Prelee, Kyren Volk and Olivia Demes; two grandchildren are expected to be born very soon.

Also surviving are his three stepbrothers, Ernie Meszaros and his wife Ruth; Sonny Meszaros and his wife Bonnie; and Gary Meszaros and his wife Katie; a stepsister, Cherl Faylo and her husband Edward; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Joseph was preceded in death by his father, Andrew Anthony Prelee, on June 20 of this year, and his mother; his grandparents; two brothers-in-law, Al Horvath and Robert Huey; and his father-in-law, Warren Swisher.

To all the staff of the fourth floor Progressive Intermediate Care at St. Elizabeth Hospital; and to Hospice of the Valley, Dr. Thomas Bailey and all the doctors for their loving support and care shown to Joe during his final months, we thank you.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Valley, 5190 Market St., Youngstown, OH 44512; or through the funeral home to the Paul S. Ghirardi Memorial Fund.


Joseph "Papa Joe" James, 67, Ventura Drive, Youngstown.

Calling hours: 4 to 8 p.m. today (7-14-10) in J. BRADLEY McGONIGLE FUNERAL HOME and CREMATORY Inc., 1090 E. State St., Sharon; and 10 a.m. to time of service Thursday (7-15-10) in St. Patrick's Church, Hubbard. Friends may send condolences by visiting our website at

Service: Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. Thursday in the church with the Rev. James Johnson, parochial vicar, as celebrant. The family requests that everyone go directly to the church Thursday morning.

Interment: With full military honors at Churchill Cemetery, Liberty Township, Trumbull County.

Family links: 
  Andrew Anthony Prelee (1918 - 2010)
Church Hill Cemetery
Trumbull County
Ohio, USA
Created by: Andrea Grega
Record added: Jul 16, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 55012345
Joseph James Papa Joe Prelee
Added by: Andrea Grega
Joseph James Papa Joe Prelee
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Russ K.
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Rest in peace Joe.
- A west hill kid, Andrea Grega
 Added: Jul. 16, 2010

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