Saturday, December 03, 2022


Joseph F. Peluso


Joseph F. “Joe” Peluso, 67, of Deep River, faced pancreatic cancer with dignity and perseverance, and was grateful for the generous acts of kindness and fervent prayers of treasured family and friends. With great sorrow, his cherished wife, Nancy Tinkham Peluso, and their beloved son, Michael J. Peluso, share that he died on March 16, at home, surrounded by family and his history books.

Joe was born on Nov. 16, 1954, to the great delight of his parents Nunzio and Zina Peluso. He was a devoted and caring brother to his sisters, the late Rosemary Ostafin and her husband Richard, Joan Merrill and Nedine Sutton and her husband Tom. They grew up in Newington, a close family, proud of their Italian heritage in a home filled with love. His life was enriched with the time and affection of aunts, uncles, and cousins, with whom he shared joyous memories.

Joe was a much loved member of Nancy’s family as well, and part of their lives for 49 years. He will be fondly missed by his mother-in-law Cynthia Tinkham, Lois DeBoer, Jonathan and Melanie Tinkham, Peter and Joanne Tinkham, Daniel and Diane Tinkham, and Laurie and Eric Bleickardt.

Uncle Joe was admired and adored by his nieces and nephews. He shared a special bond with each of them, and they brought him much joy. He dearly missed his niece Kristin Ostafin, who predeceased him.

A promise to his son led the Pelusos to visit all 50 states before Michael was 18, reading every historical marker along the way. He shared his appreciation of our country’s beauty, and its rich, vibrant, and turbulent heritage with his students at Guilford High School, where he taught history for 35 years. He ceaselessly encouraged his students to recognize how the past informs the present and the importance of civic discussions and debate. Joe was dedicated to each of his students and they, in turn, bestowed the honor of Most Respected Teacher for many, many years. In 2011, he was recognized as a Local Hero by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut, and Joe used the grant award to develop an oral history program to record the recollections of local veterans. He was an inspiration, mentor, and valued friend to his colleagues.

Joe was a faithful member of the Deep River Congregational Church. He was actively involved in the life of the church, and served on many boards and committees over the years, and will be remembered as always ready to lend a hand when needed. He loved his church and church family, and especially enjoyed working with the young people on mission trips. His commitment to civic responsibility led him to serve on the local school board, as well as a trustee of the Deep River Historical Society. Joe led a good life, filled with love, joy, and laughter and fulfilled with service to others, and left us way too soon.

To celebrate Joe’s commitment to education, please share a book with a child. He would like that. All are welcome to a memorial service in his honor at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, at the Deep River Congregational Church. The service will also be live-streamed at To share a memory of Joe or send condolences, please visit Arrangements are in the care of the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home in Centerbrook.

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