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Joseph Anthony DiPietro died in the afternoon of Christmas day, December 25, 2023, with his wife Cheryl at his side. Joe Joe was born in Crestline, Ohio on October 31, 1942, to Josephine (Campanella) DiPietro and Edward DiPietro. Joe graduated from Crestline High School in 1960, Morehead State University in 1965, and Xavier University in 1967. After graduation, he accepted a football coaching position at Milan High school in Milan, Indiana. From Milan, he went to Fort Wayne North Side High School as defensive coordinator. While teaching and coaching at North Side, Joe met and married his wife of fifty three years, Cheryl (Rager) DiPietro. Joe and Cheryl have two daughters Andrea (Terrence) O’Neill of Fort Wayne and Jan (Jeff) Pfister of Indianapolis. Joe has four grandchildren: James O’Neill, Drew O’Neill, Faith Pfister, and Frank Pfister.
In 1974, he moved to Greenwood, Indiana to be the head coach of the Center Grove Trojans. His teams earned an eighteen game winning streak that was a school record for many years. After seventeen years coaching football, he moved to administration and became principal of Center Grove High School in 1979. Joe always felt that coaching football was exciting and offered many opportunities to guide young people, but that his role as a school principal had more direct impact on students’ lives.
Later, Joe wanted to explore different career opportunities, and he worked as a personnel director for Koenig and Bauer/Egenolf. Joe enjoyed working with Jim and Joe Egenolf and always tells the story of building a monetary press for the United States government. While working there, he delighted in taking his daughters around the printing press machinery and explaining how everything worked to his girls.
Over the years, Joe missed the day-to-day energy and enthusiasm of public education, so when there was an opening at Greenwood Middle School, Joe took the reins as principal of GMS. He had a strong teaching staff, and together they built an outstanding program at Greenwood Middle. Each year, GMS had a theme or motto, and when Joe chose “We Are Family,” he truly meant it.
In the last years of his career, he worked in the Greenwood Community Schools Central Office as the Director of Student Services. Joe was a master at recognizing the strengths of others, and giving them the tools, support, and freedom necessary to create excellence. His goal was to always strive for excellence in a safe place that includes all participants at every level and recognizes the achievements and efforts of everyone.
After retirement, Joe was happy to have joined the snow bird population in sunny Florida. In February and March, you could find him sitting on a beach in Naples or St. Augustine. Joe was the type of person who was charming, dynamic, and a natural leader. He loved to socialize, dance and listen to live music, and even pass out his daughter Andrea’s delicious sugared pecans around the pool deck. No one was a stranger to Joe Joe.
He loved football all his life and was a season ticket holder for the Indianapolis Colts for 40 years. Joe enjoyed working in the press box on game days as a spotter for the on-air announcers, and he and his father-in-law Jack Rager got to see the Colts win the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami, FL. Joe was happy to watch his grandsons James O’Neill and Drew O’Neill participate in athletics, and he would light up whenever with them. Joe coached his high school teams with passion and preparation, he was a Colts and Hoosier fan for years, but his undying loyalty was always for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. He and his brother John never tired of discussing every aspect of Notre Dame’s football program. Faith, family, and football have always been guiding principles for Joe.
Joe maintained strong ties to his hometown of Crestline, Ohio. His cousin Denise Belcastro and sister-in-law Barbara DiPietro still reside in his cherished Crestline, and Joe Joe’s memories of warm family meals, laughs with friendly neighbors, and stories of mischief with his brother John and close friend Robert “Tank” Runyon were shared with his family in exuberance and delight whenever possible. The values Joe learned from St. Joseph’s Catholic School, the south side friendships of childhood, the love of sports, especially football, instilled in him by Merle Hutson, and the loving Italian home created by Josephine and Eddie guided him throughout his life. Joe was inducted into the Crestline High School Hall of Fame in 2009, and his 1959 football team was honored in 2017.
Joe DiPietro is preceded in death by his parents Josephine and Edward DiPietro, brother John DiPietro, sister Frances DiPietro, and Aunt and Uncle Angela and Vincent Belcastro. He is survived by his wife Cheryl DiPietro, daughter and son in law Andrea and Terrence O’Neill, daughter and son in law Jan and Jeff Pfister, cousin Denise Belcastro, sister-in-law Barbara DiPietro, and grandchildren James O’Neill, Drew O’Neill, Faith Pfister, and Frank Pfister.
Joe’s wife Cheryl and daughters Andrea and Jan always knew that no matter what, Joe was the rock they could count on to always be there for them. He has said many times that he’s had a great life. He lived for spending time with his family, especially visiting with his young grandchildren Faye and Frankie, feeding everyone good food, talking on the phone with friends, and watching westerns and the game of football. Joe Joe was an extraordinary person who took up a lot of space in a lot of rooms throughout his life, and he found joy in helping many great folks along the way. For all those who knew him, he is one of the individuals who is truly unforgettable.
Visitation will be Thursday, December 28th from 4:00 to 8:00 at Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service & Crematory, Greenwood Chapel 481 W. Main St. Greenwood, Indiana. Funeral Mass will be 12:00pm Friday at Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic Church 335 S. Meridian Street, Greenwood with calling from 11:00 am to service time.
Graveside services at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Crestline, Ohio will be announced at a later date.
Memorial Contributions may be made in Joe’s honor to Center Grove Education Foundation, 2789 Trojan Lane Greenwood, IN 46143, or to the Greenwood Education Foundation, 605 West Smith Valley Road Greenwood, IN 46142.
Those wishing to share a memory of Joe or send condolences to the DiPietro family may do so by visiting masfh.com.
The Schneider-Gompf Funeral Home, 223 West Main Street, Crestline is honored to serve the family of Joseph "Joe" Anthony DiPietro.