Joseph C. Tranfo, 89

Joseph C. Tranfo, of Stuart, FL and Greenwich, passed away peacefully and surrounded by his family on January 7, 2021 after a prolonged illness. Born in the Bronx, New York on September 22, 1931 to the late Carlo and Serafina Tranfo, Joe attended Cardinal Hayes High School and St. John’s University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1955.

It was at the outset of his enrollment at St. John’s that Joe, needing to pay for his tuition, found work as a C.O.D. clerk with a delivery company called United Parcel Service. Joe began at UPS in 1950, working days and going to class at night. In 1952 Joe interrupted his education and employment to answer his country’s call to service during the Korean conflict. After basic training at Fort Dix, NJ, Joe was selected for Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA. Upon completion of OCS Joe was assigned to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where he got his first exposure to the law. This would prove to be a life-altering experience, as after being honorably discharged in 1954 and rejoining UPS, Joe made the decision not only to complete his undergraduate degree but to continue at St. John’s, graduating from law school there in 1959.

Joe’s career with UPS would ultimately span 41 years, during which Joe played a key role at every major inflection point in the company’s growth. As a young UPSer Joe was on the team which enabled the company to operate both within and across all 50 states. Later, as head of labor relations, he negotiated both the national and local contracts with the more than 300,000 Teamsters whom the company employed. Joe led the group which opened UPS’ first international expansion (into what was then West Germany), and he was part of the team which selected Louisville, KY to be the hub of UPS’ new overnight air operation.

Joe’s retirement from UPS in 1991 allowed him to devote himself fully to his family, his garden, and to the philanthropic pursuits he came to love. Joe’s love and admiration for the late Henry Viscardi, Jr. led him ultimately to chair the boards of both the Viscardi School and what is now known as the Viscardi Center, leading organizations advocating for the education and employment of people with profound physical disabilities. Joe chaired the board of Casey Family Services, an organization dedicated to improving outcomes for children in foster care. And perhaps the highlight of Joe’s retirement was his affiliation with the Order of Malta, as part of which he made 19 pilgrimages bringing the sick and the poor to the Catholic shrine at Lourdes, France.

Joe’s life was a testament to hard work, optimism, and loyalty. He had a profound love for his family, his friends, his faith, and his country. Joe’s heart and home were always open to those in need, and the number of people Joe personally assisted in their time of need are too numerous to count. Joe understood that his life story could not have happened in any other place and at any other time, and he was deeply appreciative not only for his success but for the relationships he forged across the decades. 

Joe is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Linda Mary Tranfo, by his son Joseph A. Tranfo and his wife Jane, and by his grandchildren Olivia, Sarah, Thomas, and Mary Jane.

A celebration of Joe’s life will be held at a date and place to be determined. In lieu of flowers the family encourages you not merely to make a donation to the charity of your choice, but to become as personally involved as your time and circumstances allow.