Joseph Tornello passed away on December 11th, 2018 after a long, well-fought battle with heart disease and diabetes. His extended life was a miracle in many ways and we are very grateful for the time we all had with him. He was 87.
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Joe was born on July 25, 1931 in Philadelphia, PA to his parents, Michele (Michael) and Maria Tornello, both Sicilian immigrants. At the age of 14 Joe became a professional musician. He had a passion for music and played all of the woodwind instruments, but the saxophone was his great love. Joe played sax for the Tommy Dorsey band and also accompanied Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.
He was a veteran of the Air Force and a member of the Air Force band during the Korean War. At the end of the war, Joe was stationed at Tinker Air Force base in Midwest City, OK. Upon leaving the service, he went to work for the FAA, where he worked for 29 years. After retiring from the FAA, he had a career as an instructor in computer programming at OCCC. He loved working with computer programming almost as much as his love for music.
Another love he had was the annual March Madness Basketball Tournament where he spearheaded the family competition. He holds the record for the most wins, making him the true Godfather of the family March Madness Tournament. Joe was also an OU Sooner supporter through and through! He was an avid supporter of all OU sports programs.
Joe’s famous homemade spaghetti and meatballs were coveted by all. Family and friends came out of the woodwork when he started cooking a batch of meatballs!
Joe is survived by the true love of his life, his wife Pam, of almost 30 years. He is also survived by his son and daughter-in-law Danny and Cheri Tornello, son and daughter-in-law Richard and Karen Tornello, daughter and son-in-law Diana Lee Scott and Chris Shirley, son and daughter-in-law Todd and Felisa Briscoe, and many loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and of course his countless friends and previous students.