Joseph Honis

Obituary of Joseph Honis

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Joseph (Joe) Honis, age 100, of Westvale, passed away peacefully at his home on September 15, 2023 surrounded by his family. Joe was born in 1922 in Oneida, Pennsylvania to Mary and Joseph Honis Sr. He was the oldest of 3 boys. In 1927 his family moved to  Tipperary Hill in Syracuse. As a depression era child, Joe helped to support his family by hawking newspapers and selling Columbus bakery bread door to door. Joe attended school on the west end and  graduated from Vocational High School.

Joe was a WWII Army veteran. As a member of the Greatest Generation,  Joe enlisted in 1943 along with his brothers Bob and Don who were in the Marines. Joe served in the European Theatre, specifically in France. His unit (3505 Medium Maintenance Ordinance) landed at Normandy two weeks after the invasion. The Ordinance supported the effort by repairing jeeps and tanks for the front. From 1946 and for the next 75 years, this tight knit group of men and their families reunited yearly during Labor Day weekend. It was a tradition that continued despite the last few being attended only by Joe and his long time friend Tony Ferrarase.  At discharge in 1945, Joe attended Syracuse University on the GI Bill. 

Joe worked as a draftsman at General Electric for more than 40 years. He also served as the union president of the Draftsmen’s Association. 

Soon after returning from the war, he met and married Vera (Elvira) Desimone, his future partner and love of his life. They shared 74 years together and raised 8 children. During this time, Joe volunteered for the Boy Scouts and was an active member of West Genesee United Methodist Church. Joe was a faithful Sunday school teacher for more than 40 years. When the church closed, he and Vera became committed members at Immanuel UMC. Joe participated on church mission trips where his masonry and woodworking talents came in handy. 

As family was first and foremost, Joe spent time camping and hiking the Adirondack mountains with his (sometimes unruly) children.  He instilled in them a love for our natural surroundings and an appreciation of the simpler things in life. Joe and Vera held down a welcoming busy home to friends and family.  During this time they faced the tragic loss of their young son Gary which challenged their faith. Their response was to become more involved with volunteer work focused on helping kids feel safe and included within the community. It was their faith and this focus which helped heal their family, giving them a sense of hope for the future. 

Joe was always there for his friends and family. Whether it was to jump start a car, fix a lawn mower or help with any project around the house, he was always willing to lend a hand. In addition, Joe traditionally made nut bread (his mom’s recipe) as gifts every Christmas for all his kids. Over the past few years he left the task to his daughters while he supervised, assuring this precious tradition would continue after he and Vera were gone. 

There are many qualities about Joe that will be remembered. He was a quiet unassuming person.  His life reflected the values of family, frugality and conservation of natural resources. He always listened and never judged.  He was so present in mind and spirit until the very end that one of the grandkids commented that he ”was probably the first 100 year old to go too soon. The world needed 100 more years with Grandpa.”  Joe’s family loved him as a listener, tinkerer, hiker, hearder of children, an expert baker, avid NY Yankees fan and a patient man of deep and abiding faith, which was the cornerstone of his life. One of Joe’s favorite quotes was “The idea is to die young as late as possible”. And lastly, when asked what he wanted to be remembered for he answered, “Loving my children.”


Joseph is predeceased by his wife Vera, son Gary, grandson Nathan, brothers Don and Bob.  He is survived by  his children Joseph (Kathy), Nancy Rodak,  Linda Lovig, Robert (Mary), John (Leslee),  Kathy (Steve) Garty, Mark (Ann) and his  grandchildren, David, Gretel, Elizabeth, Matthew, Ann, Neysa, Leif, Jeremy, Sarah, Jacob, Trevor, Dylan, Nicholas, Hannah, Jayson and Jackson. He is also survived by 18 great grandchildren as well as many nieces and nephews and sister-in-law, Arline Russo. Our deepest gratitude goes out to Sandy Cutler who helped with his care and Hospice who helped him pass peacefully.


Services for Joe will be Monday, September 25th from 5-7 pm at Ryan Funeral Home on Bellevue Ave, Syracuse. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, September 26th at 10 am at Immanuel United Methodist Church in Camillus. Burial to follow at Oakwood Cemetery.

Donations may be made in memory of Joe to Hospice of CNY. 

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Calling Hours

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Monday, September 25, 2023
Edward J Ryan & Son Funeral Home
3180 Bellevue Avenue
Syracuse, New York, United States
(315) 468-3443

Funeral Service

10:00 am
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Immanuel United Methodist Church
303 Kasson Rd
Camillus, New York, United States


11:00 am
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Oakwood Cemeteries
940 Comstock Ave
Syracuse, New York, United States
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