March 9, 1935 - January 16, 2021
SAUQUOIT- Mr. Victor Leon DeStefano, Jr., age 85, went to heaven and was reunited with his mother, father, brothers, wife, and son when he passed away on Saturday, January 16, 2021 after living a great life. Born in Utica on March 9, 1935, Victor was the son of the late Victor L., Sr. and Ella (Ioia) DeStefano. As a young boy, he learned the art of carpentry from his dad, who he lost at the tender age of 12. From these early beginings, he developed his skills into a successful livelihood and was proud to have his brothers as good teachers in his life. With his attention to detail and his God-given talent, he was sure this was to be his chosen profession. He always had pride and integrity in his work. On April 27, 1956 he married his one and only love, the former Margaret J. “Marge” Waters. They were passionate people in many ways and were enduring parents; they never gave up on their dreams. Victor was an extremely hard worker and made a commitment to his wife to build a home, and within 5 years of their union, he accomplished his goal of constructing a house built on a solid foundation to raise their family, a home he lived in until his last day. One of his first jobs was at Endre’s Bike Shop, a position where he was able to utilize his strong problem-solving skills and mechanical aptitude. He was also employed by the Food Store Refrigeration Company. Eventually, Victor returned to his natural calling and joined the Angelo Nole Construction Company, then Poncell Construction, and finally, the National Building and Restoration Company; he was highly respected and sought after at each job site for his workmanship as a true craftsman. He was a 66-year member of the Carpenters Union/Local 277, one of the longest-standing members since its inception. A man of integrity, an independent and just man, determined and proud of his life accomplishments, he was unconditional in his sincerity and so frequently shared his emotions. He had an infectious laugh and a compassionate heart, and he was able to mix those two emotions so well. His heart was so abundantly kind and his generosity was evinced on so many levels. He was respectful, polite, and had an abundance of friendships. He saw the best in others and was complimentary to everyone. He was honored to teach carpentry skills to apprentices, always helpful and encouraging in the process. He was young at heart and could relate to people on a sympathetic and emotional level. During conversation, he was more interested in you as a person than he was of concentrating on his own interests. He was a simple man, never needing the extras in life. He was raised a Catholic, received his Holy Sacraments, and lived his faith daily. He made the most elaborate and perfect Palm Crosses during the Lenten season. Victor enjoyed old movies and music that soothed his soul, especially the “Ratpack” and Al Jolson, and he could be heard singing a tune now and then. He was a model airplane pilot who remotely flew his intricately made planes, a hobby he began in his youth. He was a proud member of the Mohawk Valley Firebirds where he engaged in friendships that were so meaningful to him and brought him so much joy. In return, the club members affectionately called him “the Godfather”. A proud patriarch, Victor cherished every moment with his family. He was amazed by the artistic talents his late son Victor applied to his auto sales business, particularly the body work he displayed. He shared in his dad’s ability to connect to people through conversation and his kindness. When his son Victor passed, he was profoundly saddened, but was blessed to maintain a close relationship with his grandsons, including Chad, who moved across the street from his grandfather and assisted in the outdoor maintenance of his home. Blessed with Chad as his neighbor, Victor was able to interact with his great grandchildren and in more recent years they shared the art of woodworking, and ironically, grandson Chad “Chipper” lived up to his nickname! He was just as proud of grandson Joshua who took over his dad’s business. He has a great heart and is just as passionate as his Dad, a great feat for a young man to carry on his father’s lifetime work. Victor appreciated the constant support given by his daughter- in -law Sally to his son Victor and their sons. She was around since she was a teenager and he was proud to have watched her grow into a grandmother. Granddaughter Danielle was also strengthened by her grandfather’s love and influence, enjoying annual Christmas Eve visits. Victor was his daughter Julie’s first best friend, constant in her life, confidante, teacher of profound life lessons, and exemplar of values of strength, compassion, and graciousness. He affectionately referred to Julie as his “honey bunny” and “dimples.” Victor was at the center of Julie’s most cherished childhood memories. From teaching her to ride her bike, building her childhood dollhouse (passed down to her girls) and playing with her on a CB radio they were side by side. An unbreakable bond and profound love, Julie is so grateful to have had the best dad, from the beginning to his last moment, and beyond. When Victor proudly walked Julie down the aisle, he was confident in his son-in-law, Jim, and felt that he would be the best husband for her. He loved Jim, often referring to him as a son and knew he could rely on him to care for his little girl. Connected by their deep love of Julie, Jim and Victor built a special bond that will be treasured for the rest of time. Victor was wise and young at heart and each of his children and grandchildren benefitted from this wisdom and playfulness. Julie and Jim’s children Maggie, Bella, and Gavin affectionately referred to him as Poppy. Poppy was extremely proud of his grandchildren, and characterized this pride as “bragging points” which he shared with everyone he met. This devotion and “slowed down time” that only a Poppy knows allowed for conversation that varied in purpose and meaning, but always laced with love. Granddaughter Maggie will fondly remember all the time spent with Poppy chatting, listening to music, hearing stories of his childhood and old time radio shows, and seeing him front and center at every concert and performance. She will especially hold deep in her heart how honored he felt hearing her sing in Italian and that his very last words to her were “I am so proud of you.” Granddaughter Bella, knows how nostalgic her Poppy was and recently created and gifted him a unique assembly of nestled picture boxes of photos from his youth to the present. His appreciation and joy of sentiment will hold an eternal place in her heart. Bella will forever feel supported by him because of his constant presence, and unwavering support of what he called her unique musical, artistic, and academic talents. And “Little Buddy”, grandson Gavin was so taken by the time his poppy devoted to him, the special and memorable conversations and places they went, the playful time they spent because he was the youngest, and now, Gavin has created a picture memorial in his room to keep his best bud, Poppy as close as he can. They were all supported in their passions, and Poppy never missed an event. He always had a smile on his face and a camera in his hand. Each one of them got a piece of his heart and each of them has traits of his talents and personality. He was a great supporter of all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and they will never forget a moment they spent with him. Victor is survived by his children and their spouses, Julie and Jim Stephens, Michael DeStefano, the memory of his son Victor L. DeStefano III who preceded him in 2011; and his daughter-in-law Sally DeStefano; his grandchildren, Chad and Danielle DeStefano, Joshua DeStefano; Danielle and Joey Kohlbrenner; Maggie Stephens, Bella Stephens, and his buddy Gavin Stephens; and his great-grandchildren, Daniel, Luke, and Kimberly DeStefano; Tucker, Carson, and Ryker Kohlbrenner. He also leaves many loved nieces and nephews, including special relationships with Denise, Renee, Johnny, Gil, Janice, Louie, and their families, great-nieces, many true friends who will hold his memory in their hearts; in-laws, James Colp, and Ceil Waters; family friends, Betty Luciano, Lillian Spaziani; and Julie’s in-laws, James and Patricia Stephens and family. He was predeceased by his brothers and sisters-in-law, Gennaro and Rosaria DeStefano, infant Mario DeStefano, Mario and Jane DeStefano, Gilbert and Marge DeStefano; and in-laws, Harold and Roswena Waters, Barb and Walt Stefanski, Sharon Colp, and Fred Waters. The family is grateful to Dr. Atul Butala, Tanya Marr/NP, and staff. Victor had a pleasant relationship with the many nurses and aides who watched over him and his family. Due to the abatement of COVID restrictions, Victor's funeral service and Celebration of Life will commence on Friday morning, July 9, 2021 at 10:30 at St. Anthony and St. Agnes Church, 422 Tilden Ave., Utica where his Mass of Christian Burial will be offered. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family enabling them to establish a scholarship fund in Victor’s name.
SAUQUOIT- Mr. Victor Leon DeStefano, Jr., age 85, went to heaven and was reunited with his mother, father, brothers, wife, and son when he passed away on Saturday, January 16, 2021 after living a great life. Born in Utica on March 9, 1935,... View Obituary & Service Information
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