Joseph R. Sacco, Sr.

Joseph R. Sacco, Sr.

May 26, 1943 – March 4, 2024

Visitation:  5:00 – 7:00 p.m., Friday, March 8th, at our West Center Chapel, with a Vigil Service at 7:00 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 9th, at 10:00 a.m., St Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, 10th and William Streets.  Interment: Calvary Cemetery.

Joseph was preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Grace Sacco; brother, Fred Sacco; sister-in-law, Pat Sacco; son-in-law, Steve Thull. He is survived  by his wife of 62 years, Mary Pat Sacco; sister, Nellie Merrill (Dick); children: Joe Sacco, Jr. (Lynda), Sam Sacco (Cheryl), Chris Thull; grandchildren: Joe Sacco, III (Sarah), Ashley Picard (Brad), Annamarie Bender (Parker), Tony, Mike and Sammy Sacco (Victoria), Justine Sullivan (Matt), Krista Kauzlarich (Buddy), Samantha Stinson (Kyle), Tony Sacco (Kaylee), Jess Keffer (Michael), Nick Thull; great-grandchildren: Joe Sacco, IV, Bentley and Brecken Sacco, Gabriella Walz, Boston and Bruno Picard, Sammy, Jr. and Santino Sacco, Haley, Sam, Ryan and Will Sullivan, Sonny Kauzlarich, Conor and Charlie Stinson, Lia Sacco and Saige Keffer.

Memorials may be directed to the family.

Livestream of the Mass will be available on our website or click here:

Joe was the youngest child of Grace (Pattavina) and Sam Sacco, a South Omaha family with strong Italian ties. He grew up with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all living within walking distance. Family was central from his earliest days, and they shared nearly everything. Especially food. Every family experience from birth to death involved some combination of dough, sauce, and garlic. Joe would always comment on other people’s Italian cooking and say, “It’s not right.” Then he would proceed to tell them how his Ma made it, without revealing the exact recipe. He remained guarded about those family recipes all his life.

Then he met Mary Pat Henningsen, who was of Danish and Irish descent. She was spunky, cute, and a ton of fun, but what about the cooking? Mary Pat learned to cook Italian so well that by the time his kids and grandkids started making the family recipes decades later, the absolute highest compliment he was capable of was, “It’s almost as good as your Ma’s.”

Their “whirlwind” romance lasted 62 years, from sock hops to great-grandchildren. Joe and Mary Pat raised their three children in the same close-knit fashion. Joe, Sam, and Chris grew up sharing every Sunday, holiday, and milestone with their loud, opinionated, and ever loyal extended family. They couldn’t get away with anything. Even if they escaped Mom and Dad’s radar, Aunt Nellie had heard from the Pattavina uncles who had heard from one of their kids that Joey and Sammy were causing trouble down at the ball field (Chris never got in trouble). If their escapades amounted to more than a scrape, Joe would call on Uncle Fred to help rectify the situation. It was always family helping family, family yelling, family laughing, family telling you what to do, and family eating. And so, it continues with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Stop by any family gathering and you will see it in their animated hand gestures. You’ll hear it in their voices, fighting to be heard over the next. And you’ll smell it in whatever they’re cooking (just don’t ask for the recipe).

With his friends and co-workers, Joe often took on the unofficial roles of therapist, teacher, or employment agency. He loved to give advice on any given problem, “What ya gotta do is….” He could tell you how to fix a car, build a house, or make sauce (not exactly, though). He especially loved making connections to help people get jobs. He always knew someone who knew someone who owed him a favor.

His official professions were car salesman, hairdresser, bus driver, the gas station, the telephone company, and the security business. His driving force was to provide for his family and make sure each of his children knew how to do the same for theirs. He encouraged them to learn anything and everything to make sure they were self-sufficient. He made sure they could live up to the motto, “You can do anything! You’re a Sacco!” While his language could lean toward the colorful, one word he wouldn’t allow was “can’t.” His children learned skills and accomplished tasks that they sometimes felt were too difficult or overwhelming. In turn, they have brought up their families with the same values, and three more generations are carrying on what he and Mary Pat started.

He loved his wife and family with all his heart and no Sunday dinner will ever be the same without his advice on life and suggestions on the food, but there are plenty of stories to be shared to keep his memory alive. The classic cars will gather dust without his constant tinkering, but his “fix-it” qualities live on in his kids and grandkids. He may be gone from our sight, but his presence is permanent. Rest easy, Joe Sacco. Your legacy lives on in strong tradition. We love you and will miss you.


  • Carol Monaghan Posted March 6, 2024 1:49 pm

    Mary Pat, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. You are in my prayers, if you need anything at all please let me know.

  • Tony Perrone Posted March 7, 2024 7:52 am

    Sacco family, I have not been in contact with you in years, but I felt a real sadness when I read of Joe’s death. I well recall the wonderful family environment at your home. Also the trips to racquetball tournaments with Joe and Sam. I very much miss those days. My prayers and thoughts are with the family.

  • Carrie Egan Posted March 7, 2024 8:17 am

    Sacco Family,
    I am keeping you all in my prayers.

  • Kathy Pecha Posted March 7, 2024 9:17 am

    So sorry for your loss, I pray for strength for you Mary Pat and your family. Blessings.

  • Victoria Mormino Posted March 7, 2024 4:10 pm

    So sorry for your loss your family are in my thoughts and prayers may he rest in peace..

  • Tom and Dianne Leith Posted March 7, 2024 6:34 pm

    So sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. We are sending our prayers to you and your wonderful family.

  • Tina Cuezze Posted March 7, 2024 8:25 pm

    Joe, Lynda and family, I’m truly sorry for your.great loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Kathy J Bonacorso Posted March 8, 2024 5:37 am

    Mary Pat & entire family you all have mt deepest condolences. I’m so sorry I can’t make it to Omaha. Love y’all

  • Dorothy Begley Posted March 8, 2024 1:28 pm

    Mary Pat So sorry to hear of Joe’s passing. Know that thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

  • Margaret Piper Posted March 8, 2024 3:55 pm

    He will be missed. My deepest sympathies.

  • Iver(Joe) Posted March 8, 2024 3:57 pm

    So sorry to see him go. He will be missed.

  • Bob VanBibber Posted March 8, 2024 4:02 pm

    I am sorry for the loss. He was a good friend and neighbor. He will be missed.

  • Bob and Sandy carpenter Posted March 8, 2024 4:12 pm

    So sorry to hear about Joe. He was a great guy. Thinking of you and your family with prayers.

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