~~GERARD J. CAPORASO
Gerard Joseph Caporaso, 96, of Summit, NJ, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on, on July 6, 2017. Born June 15, 1921, he was the sixth of 11 children to Carmen “Frank” and Carmela Caporaso of Passaic Avenue in Chatham, New Jersey. He attended St. Patrick School, Chatham High School (Class of 1939) and Seton Hall University.
During World War II, Jerry served the country in the U.S. Army Air Force as a flight engineer and top turret gunner in the Eighth Air Force. Stationed at Snetterton Heath Air Base in England during the European Theater, he served on 10 combat missions, flying in a B-17 heavy bomber, before his plane was shot down during the second invasion on Schweinfurt, Germany on October 14, 1943. He survived 19 months as a prisoner of war in Stalag XVIIB before being rescued from a 300-mile death march to Braunau am Inn, Austria by the Allied forces in May 1945.
Jerry chronicled his life story about courage, faith, family and commitment in his 2014 book From the Top Turret: A Memoir of World War II and the American dream. “Always remember this,” he wrote, “The freedoms you enjoy as American citizens today were paid for by sacrifices of others yesterday. Honor your home.”
After retiring from the Air Force with the rank of master sergeant, he returned home to Chatham and married his beloved wife of 58 years Virginia (Stanek) Caporaso on Sept 1, 1951. Together they raised three sons in a home they built in Summit. Jerry worked for the Chatham Post Office for 54 years, retiring as assistant postmaster. He was a proud member of the Chatham Borough Fire Department since 1947, where he served as secretary and treasurer of the Fireman’s General Relief Fund for four decades and as parade chairman for more than 50 years.
He will be fondly remembered for his faith, love of family, his unwavering commitment to this country and our community, his work ethic, and his lifelong friendships, especially those in his firefighting family.
He was predeceased by his wife Virginia (Stanek) in 2000 and nine of his siblings. He is survived by his three sons James of Wake Forest, NC; Steven (Mary) of Branchburg, NJ and Robert of North Quincy, MA; daughter in-law Maureen Caporaso of Ventnor, NJ; four granddaughters, including Kate, Elizabeth, Monica and Felicia Caporaso; his brother Anthony Caporaso; and dozens of nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 41 Oliver St., Chatham Tuesday July 11th at 10am, followed by entombment at St. Theresa Cemetery, 126 Passaic Avenue in Summit. Friends are invited to visit Wm. A. Bradley & Son Funeral Home, 345 Main St., Chatham on Monday July 10th from 4pm-8pm for visitation. For further information or to send a condolence, please go to bradleyfuneralhomes.com. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mr Caporaso’s memory to
Chatham Borough Fire Department, Mutual Benefit Fund, One Fire House, Plaza, Chatham, NJ 07928.
National Museum of the Might Eighth Air Force
Online donation – http://www.mightyeighth.org/contribute/ or by mail: National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, PO Box 1992, Savannah, GA 31402