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Joseph F. Paone

Company A-2

30 May 1938 - 21 Jun 2007

Place of Death: Alexandria, VA

Interment: Arlington National Cemetery

Published in The Washington Post on 9/9/2007.

It is with great regret and sorrow that we must inform you of the death of our classmate, Joseph F. Paone, on June 21, 2007 in Alexandria, VA. Joe is survived by his wife, Lucy; their daughters, Anne Gunsolus, her husband , Don, and their children, Brandon, Dustin, Max, and Isabella; and Maria Coombe, her husband, Scott, and their children, Alyssa and Lauren.

The details of Joe Paone's funeral are as follows:

There were two viewings on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at Fairfax Memorial Gardens located in Fairfax, Virginia.  The first was from 2-4 PM, the second from 6-8 PM.  There was a prayer vigil from 7 – 7:30 PM during the second viewing.

Joe was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors the following morning, Wednesday, September 12, 2007.  There was a Catholic mass at the Post Chapel, Fort Myer, VA starting 10:45 a.m. followed by the burial.

Immediately following the burial there was a reception at the home of our daughter, Anne Gunsolus, in Lansdowne, Virginia (44005 Indian Fields Court, Lansdowne VA 20176,  (571)-333-1254 [home], 703-728-9813 [cell]). 

We are asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society in Honor of Joseph Paone and that the donation be restricted to lung cancer research.  Donations can be mailed or phoned to: American Cancer Society 124 Park St. SE Vienna, VA  22180 (703) 938-5550 or 1-800-227-2345

While it is a sad occasion for us all, we look forward to seeing you.  Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

 Lucy Paone, Anne Gunsolus and Maria


Class Memorial Pages\A-2 Joe Paone.pdf

I know Cadet Joe Paone only as the Conductor and Cadet-in-Charge of the Catholic Choir at West Point. He was a good boss and he certainly knew his music.

Joe was always present during rehearsals and he painstakingly made sure that each of us knew our roles, whether 1st Tenor, 2nd Tenor, Baritone or Bass. We all had good voices, but some could not read notes, and so Joe gave special attention to made sure that the latter group learned by heart (ok, memory) how to hit those notes on time.

Every Sunday morning, Cadet Paone was always the first one at the formation, making sure that everybody was present and that no upperclassmen would "bother" the Plebes in formation. Then he would march us off to the Catholic Chapel where we climbed up to the loft and wait for the Mass to start. The Choir had 2 types of sung Mass -- the Gregorian Mass, which was sung only during the Lenten Season -- and the regular Missa Cantata for the rest of the year. The highlight of our performance was the Midnight Mass on Easter Sunday and the Choir prepared long and hard for this event.

The best part of being a member of the Catholic Choir was our yearly trip to St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, where the congregation, including Cardinal Spellman, witnessed our performance. I had a girl friend in NYC who always attended that particular Mass. That same girl became Mrs. Ong on my Graduation Day, and still holds that title after 52 years!

I never saw Joe after his graduation. But I know that someday, we shall sing together again. Here is my final salute to a great leader and a talented musician.

Brigadier General Ramon M. Ong (Retired)
Armed Forces of the Philippines
USMA 1963



JOSEPH F. PAONE "Joe" (Age 69)

Of Manassas, VA, on June 21, 2007, at Mount Vernon Hospital. Beloved husband of Lucy Paone; devoted father of Anne Gunsolus (Donald) of Lansdowne, VA and Maria Coombe (Scott) of Fairfax, VA; brother of Frances DiPilato (Carl) of Albuquerque, NM. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Brandon, Alyssa, Dustin, Max, Lauren and Isabella. Friends may visit at FAIRFAX MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 9902 Braddock Rd., Fairfax, VA, on Tuesday, September 11 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, September 12 at Fort Myer Chapel, at 10:45 a.m. Interment with Full Military Honors will follow at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to American Cancer Society, 124 Park St., SE, Vienna, VA 22180.

Published in The Washington Post on 9/9/2007.

Assembly/Taps Memorial Article:

Joseph E Paone '61

No. 23650 • 30 May 1938 - 21 Jun 2007 • Died in Mt. Vernon, VA Interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

On 21 Jun 2007, Company A-2 lost a comrade, a soldier and a friend when Joseph Frank Paone joined the "ghostly assemblage" of the "Long Gray Line."  Joe was a true son of Brooklyn, being born there on 30 May 1938 of Italian-American parents.  He spent all of his life there until he left home to enter West Point on 2 Jul 1957.  He attended James Madison High School, where he met Lucille Penzabene, who became his wife and companion throughout his life's journey. Joe, a quintessential Italian, would give you the shirt off his back.

Upon graduation from West Point, Joe and Lucy were married and traveled to Fr. Benning, GA, where Joe attended the basic Infantry, Airborne and Ranger courses.  After a three-year tour with the 8th Infantry Division in Germany, Joe and Lucy, now accompanied by baby Anne, returned to Ft. Benning for the Infantry Officer Advanced Course. While there, Maria was born, and Joe was now outnumbered three to one. As it was with most of the class of 1961, Joe went to Viet Nam and was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division. Here Joe showed his true colors by "moving to the sound of the guns" and establishing a reputation as a company commander who was a consummate leader. Joe accomplished the hardest of missions without sacrificing the welfare of his troops. During this period, he received several awards for valor and a Purple Heart for wounds. 

Upon his return to CONUS, he attended New York University and earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering.  Returning to Viet Nam, he rejoined the "Big Red One" as an S-3.  When that division returned to the United States, he was assigned to the 100st Airborne Division. After his second tour in Viet Nam, Joe and the family returned to Ft. Benning, where Joe was assigned to the Infantry Board, a part of the Combat Developments Command. In his spare time, Joe completed a master's degree in business administration from Georgia State University. During 1973-74, Joe attended Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, where he earned a third master's degree in military art and science.  Now it was time to "pay the piper."

So Joe and the family moved to Washington, DC, where he was assigned to the Army staff for three years. He then was selected for battalion command of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry, of the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. After completing this unaccompanied tour, Joe returned to Washington to Lucy, Anne, Maria and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Manpower Reserve Affairs and Logistics.  While Joe's career had been progressing quite well (he was selected for colonel below the zone and projected for brigade command in Germany), he made the decision to forego promotion and command so that Anne and Maria could graduate from the same high school they had been attending. This says a lot about the soldier who put his family before his career. Joe retired in 1981. 

Joe could do many things besides amassing advanced degrees. He could fix just about anything, and so he founded Paone Associates, Inc., with himself as a general contractor. In this area, Joe did quality work.  Just about all of theA-2ers in the DC area had Joe remodel their kitchens, repair a faulty electric switch or put in a French drain. During his civilian life, Joe was a staunch supporter of West Point and an active in the social life of the A-2 Class of '6l. 

Although Joe was not seriously wounded in combat, he was stricken with some serious medical problems in his civilian life. In 1998, he was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which apparently he had been carrying for several years. Following this, he fought successful battles with prostate cancer and a minor stroke. On the Monday following his 45th Reunion at West Point, Joe had a knee replacement. Although initially successful, Joe's condition deteriorated into GuillainBarre Syndrome. Unfortunately, this disease concealed the real problem, cancer. Joe rallied, defeated the Guillain-Barre Syndrome and was seemingly on his way to recovery while the cancer was spreading. After returning from a Mediterranean cruise with Lucy, Joe fell ill and was admitted to Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, VA, where he died on 21 Jun 2007.

So passed a loving husband, father, grandfather, great friend, professional soldier and devoted classmate. Joe was interred at Arlington National Cemetery on 12 Sep 2007 with full military honors befitting a fallen warrior. Joe's long time friend from high school days, Carl Jensen, described Joe's funeral thusly: "The men gathered around the gravesite were members of Joe's Academy Class of 1961 and men who served with him throughout his career in the Army. They were all there to honor a man who devoted his life to protecting his country and, at the same time, his family and friends." Joe's devotion to duty, love of county and love of family and friends is a reflection of the man Joe was. We shall never forget our classmate and "goombah" (friend). In the words of a combat infantryman, "We'll see you on the high ground, Joe".

Be thou at peace.

Lucy, Anne, Maria and the '61 A-2ers