Joseph "Joe" Clarence DeNucci

Army Badge
  • Name: Joseph "Joe" Clarence DeNucci
  • Location of Birth: Hibbing, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: December 9, 1923
  • Date of Death: December 31, 2010 (87 years old)
  • Parents: Louis DeNucci and Libra (DeDonato) Denucci
  • High School and Class: 1941 - Nashwauk High School, Nashwauk, Minnesota
  • College: Hibbing Junior College, Hibbing, Minnesota (two years)
  • Highest Rank: CPL (Corporal)
  • Branch: Army
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  • Date Sworn In:
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  • Military Awards:
    Bronze Star Medal
    Good Conduct Medal
    Victory Medal

  • Military Highlights:
    Joe served his country in the United States Army during World War II in Europe. He was a corporal in the 537th Engineer L.P. Company and was a proud member of General Patton's Third Army. His company built bridges across the European rivers so tanks and troops could cross. The 537th earned four battle stars: Northern France, Central Europe, Rhineland and the Ardennes. For his efforts, Joe was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Victory Medal.

    Notes from Joe, Jr:
    The "L.P." in 537 stands for Long Pontoon, which basically became a raft type bridge. They went out in little boats to lash these together. Sniper fire was a big problem.

    Joe often got assigned to write letters home to the families of the deceased. It really bothered him that he could not return families letters which requested more detail of events.

    He never went on a boat after World War II, saying "The Queen Mary is the last ship I'll every ride on."

    When the war was over, he was ordered to drive the Lieutenant around Luxembourg. This was about the only event he really talked about.

    However, I did hear him tell my brother-in-law that the Battle of the Bulge was not really like the movie version. They would often exchange military books from World War II.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Joseph was the youngest of six children and was proud to be a lifetime resident of Nashwauk, Minnesota.

    Joe participated in athletics at both Nashwauk High School and Hibbing Community College. An athletic highlight was breaking the state record in the long jump (22' 7 1/2") at the 1941 Minnesota State Track Meet. That mark still stands today as the Nashwauk-Keewatin School record.

    Joe was united in marriage on March 25, 1953 in Nashwauk, Minnesota to Helmi (Ruoho) Maki. They were married for over fifty years, until Helmi preceded him in death on September 23, 2003.

    He retired as an automotive mechanic from Keewatin's National Steel Pellet Plant. He also worked at many natural iron ore mines during his 40-year career for the Hanna Mining Company. Some of the mines he spent time at include the Douglas, Galbraith, Hawkins, Pierce, Carls-Perry, Mesabi Chief, Buckeye, Butler Brothers and the Whitney. A highlight of his work career was working on the building of the tailing basin or "pond" in Keewatin, Minnesota.

    Joe was a member of St. Cecilia's Catholic Church, the Nashwauk American Legion Post 307, the VFW Post in Nashwauk, United Steelworkers Local 2660,and the Nashwauk-Keewatin Athletic Hall of Fame.

    Joe enjoyed the outdoors. He loved gardening, sawing wood, cooking sauce and taking his daily walks--rain or shine. He also enjoyed carpentry and mechanics. He was appreciated for helping family and neighbors with various projects. He always enjoyed the people in Nashwauk, Minnesota, either walking with or carrying on a good conversation.

    He is survived by one son, Joe (Jill) DeNucci; two grandsons, Ben (Kelly) DeNucci and Bob DeNucci; three step-daughters, Joyce Johnson, Shirley (Howard) Johnson, and Ardyce (Mike) Pecharich; ten grandchildren and their families, who all loved Joe very much. The grandkids and their families all knew him as "Grandpa Joe". He is also survived by special nieces, Joana (DeNucci-Dasovich) Ukali and Juleene Gustafson, along with his many nieces and nephews as well.

    He was preceded in death by his wife, Helmi; his parents, Louis and Libra DeNucci, two brothers, Jimmy DeNucci and Tony DeNucci, three sisters, Violet Dasovich, Angeline Ahlgren, and Rose Pahule, uncle Ted DeNucci; and a son-in-law, William T. Johnson.

    Buried in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery at Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Section 30, Site 1048)

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