On April 12, 2019, at 4:10 pm ET, the world lost both a Santa and an Elvis at the same time.
Joseph S. Ali of Clementon, NJ, passed away surrounded by his loving wife, children, and grandchildren. He was 84 years old.
Over the last eight decades, "Joe Ali" wore many hats. He was a postman, an Army Veteran, a Mummer with the Clevemore Brigade, and even a general member of the Hi-Nella Fire Department. But those who know him will tell you he was even more than that. He was a hunter that never shot a deer. A gambler who bet on a horse that drowned. And above all, Joe Ali was a master storyteller.
A lover of the written word, Joe would often lament that he never wrote a book. But in a way he did. Joe imprinted his pages on the lives of those who survive him. His wife Rita. His sons Joe, Mike, Stephen, and daughter Maria. His vast expanse of grandchildren who knew him simply as "Poppy." And all of the extended family and friends who interacted with him. Everyone who knew Joe belongs to a chapter in his great novel. A story that, much like some of his long tales, never seems to truly end.
When we reflect, there is a tendency to edit the events of our lives. We focus on the good times – the things that give us nostalgia for the past. For those who knew and loved Joe Ali, we implore you not to edit. Remember it all. Because to omit a paragraph of his story, a sentence, or even a word - would be missing the point he was trying to tell us all this time:
To never make a long story short.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his viewing and visitation on Tuesday evening 6-8pm at Eugene J. Zale Funeral Home, Inc. 712 N. White Horse Pike, Stratford, NJ 08084. Visitation on Wednesday morning 11am-12pm will be held at Our Lady of Hope Parish – St. Agnes Church, 701 Little Gloucester Road, Blackwood, NJ 08012. Mass of Christian Burial at 12pm. Military honors and burial will follow in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Blackwood.