Joseph Bocanegra
Joseph Bocanegra
Joseph Bocanegra
Joseph Bocanegra
Joseph Bocanegra

Obituary of Joseph Alexander Bocanegra

Major Joseph Alexander Bocanegra, 91, a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, passed away on December 30, 2023. 


The son of Joseph and Marie Bocanegra, Joe was born in Yonkers, New York. He was born on September 29, 1932 and attended a Salesian Boys School in Goshen, NY, and later attended Ephrata High School and Central Washington College in Washington state.


At the age of 20, Joe enlisted in the United States Air Force. He valued this service highly and became a Forward Air Controller. 

While stationed at Perrin AFB in 1959, he met his first wife, Anita, and flew as an instructor.  They were transferred to Vance AFB, where he completed his "final semester" of college and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Military Science. They eventually had seven children. Joe attained the rank of Major in 1968. As part of this service, he had three overseas assignments, two in Vietnam and one in the Republic of Korea. He logged 547 hours of combat time on 267 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, obtainable only by performing acts of heroism. He loved flying!


After military retirement, Joe worked for 16 years as a salesman for Pitney Bowes. In 1980, Joe married his second wife, Leone, who had 3 sons.  Once fully retired, he enjoyed boating with his family on the Island Fox in the Puget Sound, participated in Precision Navigation Contests, and even became Commodore of the Gig Harbor Yacht club in 1989. He later bought an RV and they enjoyed traveling all over the US, and loved spending their winters at Happy Trails Resort in Surprise, Arizona. After Leone's passing, he returned to his Catholic faith, and became a devoted member of St. Nicholas Church in Gig Harbor, Washington.


Joe Bocanegra is survived by his sisters, Jayne Stumpf and Ottilie Zehnder (1 nephew, 3 nieces), his sons, Michael (Nancy), Edward (Ghie), Frank, Robert (Leann), his daughters, Linda Amador (Robbie), Joann Hughes and Carla Warren (Darin), his step-sons, Robert Welch (Ramona), Mitchell Turner (Samai),  Gene Welch (Chantel), his fourteen grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Marie Bocanegra, and his former wives, Anita Bocanegra and Leone Bocanegra.


He was a friend to all and he will be remembered by his zeal for life, his generous nature, his unwavering optimism and his sincere, heartfelt love of family and friends! A Catholic Mass and Military Funeral Honors Ceremony honoring the life of Joseph Bocanegra will be held on July 19, 2024. (Details listed below.)

It was Joe's wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of charitable donations to your favorite charity, in lieu of flowers.


Here is a link to Joe's self-written autobiography:


2 Timothy 4:7-8
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing."


July 19, 2024 - 10:00am

Catholic Funeral Mass

St. Nicholas Catholic Parish

3510 Rosedale Street NW

Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Reception to follow - Location is TBD


July 19, 2024 - Time is TBD

Military Funeral Honors Ceremony and Inurnment

Tahoma National Cemetery

18600 Southeast 240th Street
Kent, WA 98042



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