Joseph J. Surace

joseph surace

May 4, 1942 ~ February 17, 2021

Surace, Joseph J. age 78 of Fort Lee on Wednesday February 17, 2021 a great voice was silenced. Born May 4,1942 in Englewood N.J. to the late Vincent & Louise (nee Marrone) Surace he was a lifetime resident of Fort Lee. Beloved husband of 50 years to Beverly Surace (nee Baranello). Devoted and loving father to daughter Louise Surace (Edward Meller) and son Vincent Surace (Elizabeth Stearns). Joe is also survived by his brother Louis Surace, his nieces Lisa Waxman (Steve Waxman) and Tara Denicolo (Llyod Denicolo). Great Uncle to Rachel & Eric Waxman, Jenna & Luke Denicolo, and his aunt Dominica Panetta (nee Surace). Joe had many friends and family such as his best friends "Pal" Jack & Jan Denichilo and his list of accomplishments and achievements in life were endless. Joe graduated from Holy Cross High School in 1960 he then went on to proudly serve his country in the United States Army from 1964-1966. After leaving the Army with an honorable discharge Joe became a manager for Food Fair. In 1968 Joe found his first love and true passion accounting when he went to work for Van Epps, Shipman & Heyliger CPA where he worked as an officer manager. He went back to school & graduated from St. Peter's College in Jersey City in 1971 earning a BS in Accounting. In 1974 he opened his own accounting firm "Joseph J. Surace Public Accounting" where he worked up until his death. Joe always said, "When you love what you do you never work a day in your life." He loved his clients & looked forward to tax season every year to sit down with them and catch up on how they were doing. He never worked a day in his life. His other greatest love in life was the Fort Lee Jr. Bridgeman Football Program where he made friends that he considered family. Forty-three years ago, Joe went to help a friend run the program after the first year his friend turned the program over to him where he remained president of the Jr. Bridgeman for 42 years until his death. His generosity of his time & love for his community did not end there he served on the Fort Lee Rent Leveling Board (1981), the Fort Lee Planning Board (1982-1993) and was chairman for the last two years of his term, the Fort Lee Housing Authority (1994-2018) Governor's Appointment chairman (1998-2000), the Fort Lee Board of Education (2003-2018) president in 2007 & 2009. He was also involved in Bi-County Jr. Scholastic Football as an officer from 1994 until his death and served as president from 2002-2005 and coached Fort Lee Little League Baseball (1984-1990). Joe was a parishioner of Holy Trinity Church in Fort Lee where he served as an usher for over 50 years. He was a member of New Jersey Association of Public Accountants Chapter – VP, National Society of Public Accountants, Pellegrina E. Cermida MAS – President 1975, Saint Rocco MAS – Honorary Member, UNICO charter member Fort Lee Chapter, VFW -Life Member, American Legion, Elks member for 30 years, & Fort Lee Chamber of Commerce – Outstanding Volunteer 2006. He may have never worked a day in his life, but he was always very, very busy. Do to COVID the family will have a private viewing on Monday 2/22/2021 from 9:30 AM -10:30 AM at Frank Patti and Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home 327 Main Street. The funeral will leave Monday at 10:30 AM for the celebration of his funeral mass in Holy Trinity R C Church at 11:00 AM. IN LIEU OF VISITATION the Surace family asks that you gather to pay your respects and honor Joe at 500 Stillwell Avenue, Fort Lee in front of the Dr. Alan W. Sugarman sports Complex Monday 2/22/2021 at 10:40 AM the funeral procession will pass by on the way to the Madonna mausoleum. As the funeral procession passes by cheer and blow your horns to say goodbye in the way Joe lived his life – Loud and Proud. The family would greatly appreciate it. They also ask that you wear a mask for everyone's safety. In lieu of flowers the family asks you send a donation to the Fort Lee Jr. Bridgeman Football Program or the Veterans Association. The Mass will be Zoomed, call a family member for the link. The Mass will be Zoomed, call a family member for the link. For condolences, directions, or information call (201) 944-0100 or


Mass: February 22, 2021 11:00 am

Holy Trinity R C Church
2367 Lemonie Avenue
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Visitation at Funeral Home: February 22, 2021 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Final Resting Place: February 22, 2021 11:45 am

Madonna Mausoleum
2070 Hoefleys Lane
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

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Memories Timeline


  1. My sincere condolences to the Surace Family! This a great loss to his family and also the community. I will always be grateful to Joe and he will be missed. I am hoping that Joe and Jimmy are talking some football together……

    Cheryl, Chris and Colby Cavaliere

  2. Rest in eternal peace my friend.Your dedication to family and your Church and Town did not go unnoticed.Our deepest sympathy goes out to Bev,Vinny and Louise. Sincerely,Patti and Tom Dalton

  3. To the Surace Family,

    Joe was as genuine as they come. Spoke his mind with great sincerity, and always was so giving of his own time for others. It has been some time that we have seen each other, but I know that he continued to support his beloved football program for the children in Fort Lee. I had my start as a football coach in Joe's program and I am very grateful for the opportunity that he gave me. All of my best to Bev, Louise, and Vinny.

  4. Joe was not only my dad’s best friend but an important member of our family. There was no event big or small that Beverly and Joe were not a part of. Joe was larger than life and his passing will leave a void in our family and in Fort Lee. My fondest childhood memories included the Surace family and he will be forever missed and fondly remembered. We will continue to take care of your “pal” Or as you called him – The Rip!! Rest In Peace Joe! Christine, Mike, Michael and Angela!!!

  5. I was very fortunate to be a member of Joe’s Fort Lee JR. Bridgemen administrative staff for 10 years ending in 1998. Not only fortunate, but blessed. They were 10 of the best years of my life because of that association. The life lessons learned, the friendships formed and the honor of working as a team to bring the absolute best junior football program to the youth of Fort Lee are all enduring memories. Joe and I became very good friends and it’s something I’ve always cherished. I moved from Fort Lee in ‘98 after a lifetime of living there. Slowly but surely you lose track of friends but not Joe. Last spoke a few months ago, apparently shortly before his health issues began. We laughed. A lot. Like we always did. He meant a lot to me. I loved that man and I’ll miss him dearly. Heartfelt condolences once again to his “bride” Beverly, daughter Louise and son Vinny. Loud and Proud Joe. RIP my friend.

  6. May god comfort the Surace family during these difficult times.Joe was a wonderful man and a pleasure to be around.Mike and I will miss him dearly.

  7. Joe was my accountant for more than 35 years and I so much enjoyed our hour together every tax season to catch up on Fort Lee happenings. Truly a great man who will be missed dearly!

  8. Beverly and family,
    We’re so very sorry to learn of your great loss. We always enjoyed a catch up visit with Joe every year and knew he was always there if you needed any help…He was a exceptionally great person.
    Dianne and Bob Higgins

  9. Beverly, Louise, Vincent,
    Rosalie and I are deeply sadden by Joe's passing. He was a close friend who could always be depended upon. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all, be strong. Tony and Rosalie .

  10. I like many will miss you Joe. In the many years plus that I’ve known you, I’ve grown every year to appreciate who you were to the so many you touched.
    An amazing husband and father, it was quite obvious every time you spoke of Beverly, Louise and Vinnie. I remember so many of our conversations concerning our kids. Always after being critical in your opinion you would end by following your heart. Your beautiful family is proof of your devotion, care and sacrifice.
    Then there was your extended Family. THE FORT LEE JR BRIDGEMEN, thousands in fact. We couldn’t name them all, but I bet you remember them. Whether you were a player or coach, we were in awe of you. Your presence alone commanded respect. Your interest 100% on the players in your program. I remember when you first welcomed me. Entry into daily practices was through a secret locked gate. You gave me a key and said no one comes through this gate but players and coaches. I knew later why. The Gate’s long gone but the memory and purpose of that gate lives on. You always mentioned them as your kids, and yes they were. You impacted so many futures from inside that gate. In a tough relentless selfless and concerned way, you showed kids how to overcome and contribute. Joe, I think I speak for many, thank you for all that you’ve done. Being a Jr Bridgemen will always be a life lesson. All thanks to you.
    And Joe none of the above would be possible if it wasn’t for who you were. A Fort Lee Hero and Icon. Tireless service to your community at times with no gratitude besides your conviction to principle, ethics and the code of 07024. You always spoke what was hard to hear, admiration lasts beyond a life time and you have earned that. You always had everyone in mind. I remember you calling me every Tuesday during the season to discuss the menu for the home games. As the league became more diverse, I recall one call in which you said Dave we’re playing Weehawken what can we put on the menu for those kids? We’ll you already had the answer because you asked me, “how about empanadas?”. We never made empanadas but we did them for you and you were so proud. I learned a lot from you Joe , I can’t say enough about you. You were a man amongst men. God bless you always and may God Bless your Family with the strength to endure the sadness and the courage in knowing that you are now back home next to God watching over us all .
    We are forever Grateful David Sr, David Jr , Nicholas, Michael Cafasso

  11. Dear Bev and Family,
    Jamie and I were so saddened when we heard of Joe’s passing. His personality was larger than life. Even though we only saw Joe once a year, they will always remain special moments in our life. Whoever thought that doing one’s taxes would be such an enjoyable experience. We had many laughs together and will miss them immensely. May he Rest in sweet peace. We will miss you……Much love, Jamie and Lori Pappas

  12. Joe and I became close friends as freshmen at Holy Family High School and have remained friends ever since . Joe was a busy beaver his whole life. He gave of himself to various charitable programs. He loved being busy and said he would never retire because doing what you love isn’t work. Joe and I and Tony Pastore would get together every so often for lunch and/or dinner with our wives. He will be sorely missed.

  13. Joe, you will be sorely missed. Few people have served their community as well as you did. For me, you were always there. Whether it was a question or a favor, you never disappointed. I can only think of one word to describe you, outstanding.

    Chris Nicholas

  14. A vibrant, big-hearted, and loving person, Uncle Joe will be much missed and affectionately remembered. My very deepest condolences. Love, Julia

  15. To Bev and the family we are very sorry for your loss. I have known Joe for many decades and he was truly a good guy. For many of us at the ECPD Joe was our tax man. Joe was more than a tax man he was a good friend. The man loved his family and folks at the office. Joe will be remember for being a great family man and a giving person. The man also loved Fort Lee and served the Borough for most of his life. Joe will be remembered for this. Rest In Peace Mister Fort Lee. George and Lorraine Kirschbaum

  16. I'm so sorry for your loss. Joe was always very good to me over many years. We always had grest conversations about all types of topics. I will miss him very much. God bless him and rest his soul.

  17. Beverly, Louise and Vinny our deepest sympathies to you during this the saddest of times, our heart and prayers are with you Frank and Donna morganti

  18. To Bev, Louise and Vinny, I am so sorry for your loss. I have such fond memories of you and Joe and the kids during the summers in Wildwood. Much love and prayers to you all.

    Lesley Consalvo

  19. A great friend and a generous man. He gave of his time to the community and the children of Fort Lee. We will miss his quick wit, great smile and his "I'll do it my way" attitude. He was one of kind and we will miss him dearly.

    Good bye dear friend. May you rest in peace.

  20. For over 30 years there has been one thing that I most looked forward to after the new year and that was making my appointment with Joe. I would call and leave a message and he would call me back and talk like we had just hung up the phone. He always told me "good thing you called because I'm getting booked up" I always took the 9pm appt. I loved that he still used a calculator with a tape, a number 2 pencil and an eraser. I loved that he wrote on worksheets and always added it twice. I loved when it came to the end of my tax appt. he always said "lets do a hail mary and made the sign of the cross. I loved the conversation, the advice and the concern he had for everything you said. And Oh yes, he told you like it was. And he was always right. I will miss him dearly. Joe may you rest in peace, I wish I would have known that you were sick to say my goodbye. To Beverly, Louise, Vinny and family, our sincere heartfelt condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and may the many many memories of Joe/Dad comfort you in the days to come. Love, Geri and Willy Hernandez

  21. Dearest Bev, Louise, and Vinny, our heart felt condolences for your great loss. He will be missed by us, but welcomed in heaven.
    Love you guys, be well.

    Carol and Vic

  22. I just called the office today to make an appointment with Joe to do my taxes and heard the sad news. Not only was Joe my accountant for the past 40 years, but he was also a friend of my family. Before calling, I kept imagining how Joe was going to joke with me that I was calling early this year and not waiting until April 15th. Every year I looked forward to seeing Joe and Beverly in the office and catching up on news from the past year. There will never be another like him. Joe was always happy to see his clients/friends and he truly loved what he did. I will miss him! My sincerest condolences to Beverly, Louise and Vincent. May you be comforted by his memory and the knowledge of how much he meant to so many of us.
    Michele (Pattwell) Papavasiliou

  23. Dear Beverly and Family,
    Both Philip and I were disheartened to hear of Joe's passing. When I told Philip, he was silent for the moment and then burst into wonderful memories of The Fort Lee Junior Bridgemen and his time there. He adored Joe. We hope his memory will live on in all of you, as I know it will in all of us.

    Caryn and Philip Gilbert

  24. Dear Beverly and family
    My sincere sympathy to you and your family.
    I'll miss Joe around town and at tax time. He was a great guy.
    Betty Albrizio

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