Obituaries: Senator Joseph John Dinielli

Senator Joseph John Dinielli, 88, of Bristol, beloved husband of Mae (Harrington) Dinielli, died Tuesday (February 9, 2016) at home with his wife by his side.  Born in New York City on April 8, 1927, he was a son of the late Nicholas and Maria (LoMonte) Dinielli who immigrated to New York from Audria, Province of Bari, Italy.  Joe grew up on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx before enlisting in the US Navy at age 17 to serve in World War II, and later moved to Bristol.  Joe also lived in Farmington, Martha’s Vineyard, and East Hartford before returning to Bristol.   Joe owned the former Koffee Korner in Bristol and had a variety of professional accomplishments, including serving as a Bristol City Councilman and Police Commissioner and most notably serving as a Democratic Senator in the Upper House of the Connecticut General Assembly, the state legislature for the State of Connecticut, for 12 years where he served the 31st District.  While in the Senate, Joe held a number of positions including Chairman of the Senate Banks Commission, and was on the Executive Committee of the National Commission on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances.  He held many leadership roles outside the Senate as well, such as Treasurer of the Property and Casualty Insurance Council, and worked as a leading lobbyist in the State following his retirement from the Senate.  Joe will be remembered for his love of flying, which he took up at the age of 50, his baking and cooking skills which he put to good use in opening a successful restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard and winning numerous baking awards for his desserts which were featured in the most exclusive restaurant on the Vineyard, his command of numerous Italian operas by memory which he would sing with the slightest encouragement (and often without), and for the many friends he made over the years.  In addition to his loving wife of 41 years, Joe is survived by his children: Jay, Gino, and Donna Dinielli, all of Florida; brothers: Gene and Michael Dinielli of California; grandson, Jayson Dinielli of Plainville; great-granddaughter: Elizabeth Dinielli; and many nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by his step-son: Brian Hinchcliffe, and his sisters: Rena Vinci and Joan Moore.  Calling hours will be held at Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol on Saturday (February 13, 2016) between 3 and 6 PM closing with a Military Final Honors ceremony at 6 PM.  Burial will be at the convenience of the family.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Bristol Boys and Girls Club, 255 West St., Bristol, CT 06010.  Please visit Joe’s memorial website at  obituary