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Friends, relatives pay tribute to Frisella

May 4, 2011

The late Joseph Frisella, seen in a 1976 Narragansett Times file photo during a public hearing in South Kingstown.

WAKEFIELD – The man who touched the Wakefield community with his energy, passion and his lending hand passed away leaving behind a legacy of helping others. Joseph “Jumpin Joe” Frisella died Saturday, April 23 at Rhode Island Hospital after suffering from a stroke the day prior.

For over 40 years, Frisella was the owner and president of Frisella Engineering, Inc., which has provided civil and environmental engineering, land surveying and landscape architectural services throughout southern New England. Not only does Frisella Engineering make it a goal to provide the best high quality service, it also aims to creative design solutions, which are both environmentally responsible and economically feasible. Like Frisella’s own love the of the community and helping others, his company also sought to work in harmony with nature through the development of environmentally sound engineered solutions and the conservation of the surrounding environment. Even through his business, he expressed the same beliefs as he did raising his four daughters.

“He’d always say, ‘It doesn’t matter what you have. It’s what you do with what you got is what counts. Fine what you love to do and best the best at it,” Dr. Teresa Vanderlinde, one of Frisella’s daughters said.

As a father, Vanderlinde said Frisella was both strict and fair.

“He always required the truth from us. He was ever present anytime we needed anything. You knew you were loved by how much time and attention he paid,” Vanderlinde said. “He taught us to be of great integrity, great service and great honor.”

When growing up, Vanderlinde said her father was as involved in the community as he was until the end of his life. For 50 years, Frisella played Santa Claus for the local towns and the Easter Bunny for 20 years. As Santa Claus, Frisella would visit every house in the community to spread the Christmas spirit. Although Frisella’s involvement in the community did keep his family waiting for him to get home, Vanderlinde said it was what made him happy.

“It was his constant tick. He was always on the go. That’s what he loved,” Vanderlinde said. “He lived in this town for 71 years. Pretty much anyone who lived in Wakefield knew him.”

For more information pick up a copy of The Narragansett Times.

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