He left school and took a job setting pins at a bowling alley, making 2 1/2 cents per game, said his son, Kenneth Anello of Smithtown.
Joseph Anello, of St. James, a Merchant Marine veteran and retired Newsday circulation district manager, died Sunday of cardiac arrest at St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown. He was 88.
"My father, at 15, had to leave high school and take care of his mother and his sister. His sister was 5 years old," said Joseph Anello's daughter, Koren Ciccarelli of St. James. "That's what kind of man he was."
During World War II, Anello piloted a Merchant Marine ship that delivered supplies to Allied troops and ferried wounded soldiers back to bases, his children said. Anello's ship was stationed off Normandy during the D-Day invasion, they said.
Anello worked for Newsday from about 1966 to 1986, when teenagers delivered the newspaper in the afternoon, Kenneth Anello said. He said his father was responsible for routes in Dix Hills and later Nesconset.
Joseph Anello met his future wife, Lucille Nordmark, when both were elementary school students in Franklin Square. They were married 63 years before she died in April 2008.
The family lived in Centereach for 20 years and moved to St. James in 1969. Joseph Anello enjoyed cooking, baking, woodworking, gardening and bowling, his children said.
With his late sister, June, Anello organized family reunions, Ciccarelli said. Anello loved watching television.
"I could hear him laughing from one end of the house to the other end of the house," she said. "He had a jolly heart."
Anello is survived by his two children, five grandchildren and a great-grandson. A funeral was held Thursday at Hawkins & Davis Funeral Home in Smithtown. Anello was buried Thursday at Union Cemetery in Middle Island.