MoMM 1/c

We have been notified by Joanne Casteel,
daughter of shipmate
that Joe passed away on November 9, 2013.

Joseph John Miceli, 90, of Waterford, passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 9, 2013 at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital with family by his side.

Joe was born in New London on November 12, 1922 to Vincenzo and Santa (Spinnato) Miceli, members of the large community of immigrants from Tusa, Sicily who settled in New London in the early 1900's. Joe attended Bulkeley High School where he earned All-Conference honors in football. From the age of twelve he worked in various capacities at the Coca Cola plant across the street from his family home on Woodbridge Street. In June 1942, he enlisted in the Navy, joining the crew of the light attack transport USS Harry Lee as a motor machinist's mate. For the next several years, Joe served as engineer on the Harry Lee's ‘tank lighter' landing craft, transporting heavy equipment and hundreds of U.S. infantryman under heavy enemy fire onto beaches in some of the largest invasions of WWII, including battles at Sicily, Tarawa, the Marshall Islands, New Guinea, Guam, the Philippines, and Iwo Jima. He subsequently was awarded campaign ribbons with multiple stars for action in the American, European-African, and Asiatic-Pacific theaters. Joe and the crew of the USS Harry Lee had the distinction of being on the first U.S. Naval vessel to land troops in Manila, among the first group of U.S. Naval vessels to land troops in Sicily, and also was the first U.S. Naval vessel to sail into Japanese waters to begin the U.S. occupation after the Japanese surrender. Joe's WWII memoirs and associated documents can be viewed online by searching "USS Harry Lee Miceli".

Returning home from the war, Joe resumed his duties at Coca Cola, but was shortly after encouraged by the daughter of Coca Cola's New London General Manager to take advantage of the GI Bill and return to school. Enrolling first at UConn's Fort Trumbull branch then transferring to the Storrs campus, Joe completed the B.A. degree in Industrial Management in only three years, accelerating his progress by completing numerous summer school sessions while also working as a life guard at the Ocean Beach Park pool. While at UConn, he also earned a reserve commission as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army as a member of the University's ROTC program. After graduation, Joe worked briefly at SUPSHIPS before embarking on a long career in engineering at Electric Boat contributing to the design of many submarines including the Nautilus, Trident, and Billfish. Notably, he rose to the rank of Senior Engineer at Electric Boat, a rare accomplishment for someone with a non-engineering degree. Post retirement, Joe used his engineering background working for Sonalysts at Millstone Power Plant.

A member of the Knights of Columbus for 63 years, Joe served as both Grand Knight and Corporation President as well as providing continuous conscientious support to the organization's civic and charitable activities. He also donated over 22 and one half gallons of blood in his lifetime up to the age of 88. From 2000 to 2006, Joe volunteered at the New London Food Pantry, loading and transporting heavy provisions from the main warehouse in Norwich to New London where he assisted in its distribution. In his later years Joe was a frequent exhibitor at the Hygienic's annual art show in January. Beyond his engineering knowledge, Joe was a master tinkerer who could repair nearly anything big or small in the home or car for friends and family, even building his own first home in Waterford in the 1950s. A familiar figure at Waterford Beach, Joe swam a length or two of the beach daily every summer until his 88th year and maintained his vigor in the winters by shoveling heavy snow to that very late age. Despite medical challenges in his last two years, Joe continued to live independently in his own home to the time of his passing.


A loving, benevolent and supportive father and grandfather, Joe took great pride in the accomplishments of everyone in his immediate as well as extended family and deeply enjoyed many long, devoted friendships with fellow Knights - especially the venerable crew of twice weekly Knights of Columbus poker players. He leaves his four children: John Miceli, CAPT, USCGR (ret) of Wethersfield; Maureen Hickler (partner Frank Cordon) of New London; Jean Miceli (husband Ted Ward, CDR, USN ret) and her children Nathan and Laura Kastner of Niantic; and Joanne (Miceli) Casteel and her daughter Isabella Casteel of New London; a brother Vincent Miceli (wife Maureen); nephews and niece Thomas Martin, Judge Robert Martin, Mary (Martin) Brock, Stephen Miceli, Michael Miceli, as well many great and great-great nieces and nephews. Joe was predeceased by a brother Rosario Miceli, and sisters Rosaria Miceli, Mary (Miceli) Simpson and Nicoletta (Miceli) Martin.

The family would like to thank Dr. Cornelius Hong of the VA; Dr. Gaudio and his staff, especially his highly skilled nursing assistant Lorna; Dr. Wolff of L&M; L&M's Palliative Care Team APRN Katie Schneider and LCSW Suzanne Smith; VITAS Hospice Care; the kind nurses and aides at L&M; and Joe's many caring and supportive friends and neighbors. Joe has donated his body to UConn's medical school. There will be no calling hours; however, there will be a celebration of Joe's life, appropriately at Waterford Beach Park in early summer 2014. Family, closer to that time will announce the precise date. Photos of Joe's life may be viewed at Donations may be made in Joe's name to any charity that supports veterans of the donor's choosing.



Joseph J. Miceli
served aboard the Lee from
Dec. 1942 to Nov. 1945

Joe was assigned to "D" Division and
was the engineer on No. 2  tanklighter

Joe remembered going to a Lee reunion
in May of 1946!


Joe had written his memoirs of his
service years:

Joe Miceli's WWII Memoirs

More Photos
of Joe and his Shipmates
A Few Photos
from the Pacific Theater
Domain of Neptunus Rex

Joe Miceli - 1944
Joe Miceli - 1945
Joe Miceli & Family - 1944
Joe Miceli & Parents - 1944
Joe Miceli & Mother - 1944
Joe and Fred "Corky" Careanague - 1957
At home in 1957 with
Fred "Corky" Careanague
Joe Micelli's and "Corky" Careanague's kids, during Corky's 1957 visit.
Joe Miceli's Navy Memorabilia


Description of Items in Shadowbox



A Copy of the
USS Harry Lee

from Joe Miceli's collection