Joseph Ralph Cambro


Joseph Ralph Cambro, 85, of New Castle passed peacefully from this world just after midnight on April 9, 2019, surrounded by - as so many of us wish for our final hours - those he loved deeply.
Born July 11, 1933, in New Castle, he was a son of the late Joseph Cambro Sr. and Josephine (Riggio) Cambro.
Joe graduated from New Castle High School in 1951, completed his bachelor of science in mathematics as an active service member and ultimately earned a masters degree in advanced mathematics from Westminster College.
A proud veteran, Joe served as an aeronautical engineer and sergeant in the Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict.
His beloved wife of 25 years, the former Ann "Dolly" Elisco, passed away April 12, 1983.
As a relatively young widower, Joe embraced single parenthood to become an emotional anchor for his three daughters and their offspring. He was affectionately known by several names, depending on your relationship: Joe, Sonny, Daddy and Poppee.
The child of a working class Italian-American family of immigrants, he weathered the Great Depression in early childhood and his life became a testament to the best qualities of the greatest generation.
Nurturing a love of math and science led him to become an engineer and eventually a widely admired public math teacher. After 36 years in the classroom, he retired in 1995 as chair of the mathematics department at Hickory High School.
Aside from his time at sea, New Castle was Joe's lifelong home. A devoted community servant since its post-war heyday, he remained loyal to his roots even as the area was crippled by deindustrialization.
Always a Marine, Joe lived each day in the comforting precision of routines honed over decades, though in many ways, he was not a typical military man. His personality was unflinchingly gentle, with a penchant for deadpan humor and general goofery that provided a constant font of levity to those around him.
Still, he was a fierce protector and a steady hand no matter the situation. To have Joe in your corner was to feel safe and blessed in the face of any challenge.
In all things, he was a selfless man of diverse talents, including gardening, carpentry and fishing.
He is survived by three daughters, Stephanie of New Wilmington, Alisa of Florida and Jolene of New Castle; a sister, Marcy of Florida; a brother, Ralph; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife and parents, Joe was preceded in death by a brother, Lee; a sister, Dolores; and a lifelong best friend, Carl Gatts.
Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home and Crematory Inc., 111 W. Falls St., New Castle.
Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Highland Presbyterian Church, 708 Highland Ave., New Castle, with the Rev. Rich Kinney officiating. Full military honors rendered immediately prior to the service at 10:45 a.m. Interment will be in St. Vitus Cemetery, Shenango Township.
Online condolences may be offered to the family by visiting
Published on April 10, 2019
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2 posts

Kay Nielsen
Apr 13, 2019
I am so sorry your loss, but for Joe, I am happy that he is free of the disease that took so much away of his joyful days of living. Prayers of healing the hearts of your family still will continue.
Becky Sallmen
Apr 11, 2019
You have my deepest sympathy and sending the family prayers.