US Army

Joseph J. Rinarelli

November 8, 1947 ~ November 9, 2019 (age 72)


Joseph John Rinarelli, Jr, of Middletown, DE, died at home Saturday, November 9, 2019, just mere minutes after his 72nd birthday.

He was born November 8, 1947 in Wilmington, DE. Joe served our country proudly during the Vietnam War for 14 months. Upon coming home, he completed his apprenticeship with the Local 313 and worked as a master electrician for Amtrak, owning his own company Rinarelli Electric Co. for 6 years, then later with Christiana Care before retiring.

If you knew Joe, then you’d been subject to at least one silly pun or a prank by his hand. Whether it was getting duped by a corny joke or baited in some of his high jinx, everyone familiar with this practice watched with anticipation as they all knew it was a rite-of-passage of meeting Joe for the first time.

Joe had a great appreciation for Native American Culture. He respected the way they lived and would often use their teachings to reflect on his own life. This is where he discovered his love for camping, fishing, gardening, and nature. He used their practices with his children to explain milestones in their lives and how to respect everything the earth provides to you.

He always loved working with his hands. Whether it was carpentry, electricity, breaking things and then fixing it, or simply adding things to “The List.” He was always fiddling, rigging, or building something for one of his kids, wife, family and friends. One of his famous quotes was “Don’t throw it away. Put it in the garage. I can fix it.”

In the long run, Joe loved to make everyone feel accepted in his own little way. Whether it was with a joke, a lesson, a fable, a hold of the hand, or just listening. He had a gentle way about him that everyone appreciated and felt safe around. He will be missed by everyone who had the chance to experience Joe and his memory will live on within all of us.

Joe was preceded in death by parents,  Rose Ciccaglione and Joseph John Rinarelli, Sr. and sister, Constance Rinarelli. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Igo Rinarelli and 5 children: Megan Leija (Carlos), Bernadette Craig (Rick), Mary-Kate Rinarelli, Joseph J Rinarelli, III (Rita Mae) and Connie Rinarelli (fiancé Matt Klaczkiewicz) and grandson Joseph J Rinarelli, IV . He will also be leaving behind sister, Joanne Smolka and brother, Jack Rinarelli, along with many nieces, nephews and friends.

A visitation will be held this Monday, November 18, 2019 at Doherty Funeral Home, 3200 Limestone Rd, Wilmington DE 19808, between 9:15 am and 11:15 am followed by a funeral service at 11:30 AM. Burial will be at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

In Lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Joe’s name to Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph J. Rinarelli, please visit our floral store.


November 18, 2019

9:15 AM to 11:15 AM
Doherty Funeral Home - Pike Creek
3200 Limestone Road, Pike Creek
Wilmington, DE 19808

Funeral Service
November 18, 2019

11:30 AM
Doherty Funeral Home - Pike Creek
3200 Limestone Road, Pike Creek
Wilmington, DE 19808

Interment following funeral service
November 18, 2019

Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery
2465 Chesapeake City Road
Bear, DE 19701


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856

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