Joseph Alonzo, a proud Italian, loved to sing along to country music


Joseph J. Alonzo, 83, of Roscoe, was known for his outgoing personality, sense of humor, appreciation for a good meal, listening to his “buddy” Rush Limbaugh on the radio, and talking (arguing) politics. He was a huge country music fan. He loved sitting outside and singing along to the tunes very loudly. He was sure the neighbors were enjoying it. His wife Beth thought differently. He was proud of his Italian heritage and loved to tell stories of his adventurous childhood growing up in an Italian neighborhood in South East Rockford.

Joe passed away unexpectedly on Monday, September 19, 2022 at his home. He was born in Rockford, Illinois on February 4, 1939, to Joseph and Edith (Baraconi) Alonzo. Joe graduated from Rockford East High School in 1957. Joe and his wife, Beth, were together for 39 years.

Joe worked for 44 years in the pet food manufacturing business. In 1957 at age 18, he was hired by the Quaker Oats Company, who had purchased Rockford's Ken-L-Ration dog food brand from the Chappel Brothers in 1942. Eventually Joe became production manager. When the plant closed in 1987, Joe continue his management career at the Lawrence, Kansas plant, which made Kibbles ‘n Bits. He ultimately retired in 2021 and moved back to the Rockford area to be near family and friends. His family says, "Joe will forever be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend."

Joe was an outdoorsman, who enjoyed hunting, fishing and trap shooting. He learned those sports well early in life from his beloved mentor and brother-in-law Robert Prentice. Joe loved to reminisce of their many outdoor adventures together. He also loved athletic sports. In his younger days, Joe was a highly skilled and well known basketball and fastpitch baseball player. He had a love for cutting down trees on his 6 acre property and was still downing trees at age 83.

Joe is survived by his wife, Beth; sons, David Alonzo, Bruce (Cynthia) Alonzo, Todd Espy and daughter, Kelly Espy. Grandchildren, Kira Alonzo, Bianca Alonzo, Joseph Alonzo and Dominick Alonzo.

Joe is preceded in death by his parents; brother Frank Alonzo; sisters Rose Prentice and Marcella Cacciatore and very special lifetime friend, Joseph Choppi.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, from 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, 1010 Ferguson St in Rockford. Memorial Mass will follow at 11 a.m. at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Barbara Olson Center of Hope. Cremation rites were entrusted with Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory. Interment will be private.

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