Cover photo for Joseph "Joe" Frank Vella's Obituary
Joseph "Joe" Frank Vella Profile Photo

Joseph "Joe" Frank Vella

June 29, 1939 — May 24, 2024

Ponte Vedra

Joseph "Joe" Frank Vella

Joseph “Joe” Vella, 84 years old, of Ponte Vedra, FL, passed away on May 24, 2024, after courageously battling significant health issues.

 Joe was born in Detroit, MI, to Elizabeth and Vincent Vella. Joe was the oldest, and his three younger siblings were John, Robert, and Marianne. Joe began his 40+ year Employee and Labor Relations career as the Labor Relations Manager for Dodge assembly plants at Chrysler Motors. Joe then joined Modern Management as the Managing Partner for their Labor Group. Although he had numerous successes and accomplishments here, Joe had his greatest and long-lasting impact at Federated Department Stores, ultimately being named the Executive Vice President of Employee & Labor Relations. Joe relished training and mentoring generations of HR and business professionals across the country. 

 Joe’s other passions included traveling, he loved to visit Malta where his parents were born and many relatives still live, photography, and hunting. Joe was an avid boater and loved to fish. He earned his pilot’s license in 1974. Joe also was active in the Chapel at Sawgrass and volunteered once a month for many years at Mission House to prepare lunch meals on Saturdays.  

 Joe loved his family. He and his first wife, Ruth, had four children, Michael, Gerard, Susan, and Mary. In 1989, Joe married Ora, and they spent 35 wonderful years together. Joe and Ora relocated from Cincinnati to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1999. They loved meeting new people and making great friends in the Sawgrass and Jacksonville Beach communities.

 Joe was preceded in death by his siblings John and Robert, his first wife Ruth, and his children Gerard and Susan. Joe is survived by his wife Ora, his children Michael, Mary and her wife Jericho, son-in-law, Keith Vearil, grandchildren, Alexander, Nicholas, Samantha and Ayden;  his stepson, Lance Matthews and his wife Akiko, and his sister, Marianne and her husband Fred Billotto and many, many nephews and nieces. 

 Joe was loved by many and will be deeply missed. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, June 15, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. in Sawgrass County Club at The Golf Club. In lieu of flowers please donate to

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