Life Story for Dr. Joseph J. DaCrema
Dr. Joseph John DaCrema, retired professor of English at Villanova University, died peacefully after a long illness at his Rosemont, PA home Sunday morning, November 19, 2017. He was 84.
Dr. DaCrema joined Villanova’s English Department in 1963. There, he taught courses in Renaissance English Literature, Shakespeare, and the Writing of the Short Story for 35 years. Some of his favorite anecdotes involved brushing elbows with such authors as Seamus Heaney, W. H. Auden, Doris Lessing, and Allen Ginsburg, but his funniest stories centered on his best friends in the department—Joseph Blimm, Robert Wilkinson, John Schwarz, Charles Cherry, and James Murphy, as well as the late Thomas Martinez, George and June Murphy, and Larry Irwin. After his retirement from Villanova, Dr. DaCrema enjoyed working for several years under Dr. David Stout as the assistant editor for Issues in Accounting Education.
Dr. DaCrema loved his travels abroad, especially to Britain and Italy, where he favored Tuscany, Marche, the banks of Lake Como, and the Alto Adige. He also took enormous pride in the writing achievements of his students over the years, many of whom went on to careers in journalism and fiction.
Dr. DaCrema was born in Philadelphia on March 28, 1933 to John and Sally DaCrema née McLean, their youngest of three sons. His early life brimmed with romance and music and old Philadelphia, with many happy memories of the Bellevue Stratford hotel, where his mother was a chambermaid before marrying his father, who was a chef and the hotel’s longtime Captain of the Waiters, retiring in the 1970s after 50 years. Joseph idolized his older brothers, Leon and Francis (Dec), and later followed them into the service, serving in combat during the Korean War and then again in the Army Transportation Corps, stationed in Virginia. Dr. DaCrema was a 1951 graduate of St. Joseph's Preparatory School. He then attended St. Joseph's University, graduating in 1955, and went on to receive an MA in English from Villanova in 1960 and a PhD from Temple in 1968.
In 1963, Dr. DaCrema married Barbara D'Antonio, the mother of his two older children, Amelia DaCrema (who predeceased her father in 1998) and Joseph Leon DaCrema, of Plymouth Meeting. Joseph and wife Marian Cantley are the parents of Dr. DaCrema's four wonderful grandchildren, John and Meg Cantley and Elizabeth and Philip DaCrema, who have provided him with many joyous memories.
Dr. DaCrema married Norma J. Lamana in 1989. Norma is the mother of Dr. DaCrema's second son, Paul Joseph DaCrema, who brought his father joy by inheriting his musical tastes, his prowess in the kitchen, his enjoyment of travel, and his penchant for the TV show Shark Tank, among other things.
Dr. DaCrema is also survived by his nephews John DaCrema (Gina) and David DaCrema (Lauren), both of Virginia, and their beautiful children, Danielle, Michael, Christopher, and Evan, as well as by his niece Terre Genua (John), of Florida, and their son Adam.
A service at Eline Funeral Home, Reisterstown, MD, will take place Friday, November 24, 2017, 12:00pm, friends may call from 11am until time of service. A memorial service in Pennsylvania for friends and family to follow in early December. Interment in Druid Ridge Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society or the Wounded Warrior Project in Joe’s name.
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