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Joseph Desipio ’33 *34

Published in July 8, 1998, issue

Joe DeSipio died Feb. 5, 1998, in Philadelphia, of cancer. He prepared the following memorial for himself.

Joe, a retired ballet dancer, was born in South Philadelphia in 1912. He graduated from Central H.S. at the age of 16. He was valedictorian of his class, first scholar honor man, and editor of the school newspaper, The Centralizer, an unusual combination at that time. At Central, he studied Latin and Greek under a distinguished faculty of 19th-century scholars which included Benjamin W. Mitchell, Melchior Laug, Arthur Wellesley "Ducky" Howes, and James Miller "Pussyface" Hill. His classmates included such distinguished Philadelphians as Arnold Jacobs and Herman Gart.

After Central, Joe pursued his studies at Princeton, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then attended the Princeton Graduate School for three years, after which he became a ballet dancer, a profession in which his accomplishments were, at best, dubious.

Late in life, Joe did some writing and among other things, wrote this obituary and a proposed epitaph: He peaked at 16.

A friend wrote: He fathered a daughter and raised her himself. What finer monument to our friend's joie de vivre -- Sally the Pine Street Sprite, Sally the Elf.

The Class of 1933

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