- Joseph Damian Giffune, Jr. (Joe) was born April 15, 1992, at Bay State Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts, to his loving parents Joseph Sr. (Joe) and Jennifer Giffune. Joe was a lover of music, adventures, food, sports, and the outdoors - but above all else, he loved people, and he gathered them around him wherever he went. He attended Church of the Atonement Preschool, Munger Hill Elementary School, Westfield Middle School North, and Westfield High School, all in Westfield, MA. Joe was active in sports, music, and drama throughout school, in addition to being active in outdoor adventure through Wilderness Experiences Unlimited.
After graduating from Westfield High School in 2010, Joe pursued dual degrees in Criminal Justice and Business at Sacred Heart University, where after a rugby injury, he became a forceful and outspoken advocate for organ donors like the ones who enabled him to walk again. During this time, he also was trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and in Wilderness First Aid, training that he was able to apply on several occasions. As an adult, Joe lived a life dictated by his dreams, an accomplishment few can truly claim. Working as a whitewater raft guide in the summer and as a snowmobile guide and groomer in the winter, Joe's warmth and energy were an undeniable addition to every life he touched. On May 7, 2017, at the age of 25, Joe died as he had lived: with unbridled enthusiasm and commitment, doing what he loved in the place that he loved, with the people he loved. As was his wish, Joe continues to help others in death as he did in life through the gift of organ and tissue donation.
He is survived by his parents, Joe and Jen, his younger sisters, Grace and Hannah, and his older sister Kate and brother-in-law Aaron, as well as many more family and friends. His family welcomes Joe's community to join them in calling hours from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, May 12, 2017, to be held at Firtion Adams Funeral Home, 76 Broad Street in Westfield, MA, followed by a memorial service at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, they ask those who wish to commemorate Joe's life to do so by making arrangements to, like Joe, become organ donors through the New England Organ Bank (neob.org) or to make a donation in his name to the same organization. "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step" (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) firtionadams.com.
Published on  May 10, 2017