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John F. DeLuca, 85, born in Providence, Rhode Island, passed away on March 1, 2023. He was the beloved son of the late Giovanni Francis DeLuca and Filomena (Rossi) DeLuca. John was the founder and Executive Director of the DaVinci Center of Providence for 50 years.
John leaves behind his loving sister, Roberta (DeLuca) Barone and his brother-in-law, Anthony Squillacci. He was the devoted brother of the late Anna May (DeLuca) Squillacci and brother-in-law of the late Louis Barone. He is also survived by his cherished nieces and nephews, Roberta Abeyta, Rosanne Badway, Anthony Squillacci, Jr., Teresa Ballo, Ann Marie Squillacci, and Louis Barone, Jr., and many dear great nieces and nephews.
John graduated from Boston College in 1959 and joined Our Lady of Providence Seminary from 1960-61. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1961-64, graduated Rhode Island College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Social Services in 1967, and in August 1968, he also earned his Master of Arts from Humboldt University.
His other accomplishments include guidance counselor of the Portsmouth School Department, self-employed real estate agent, and entrepreneur of fine clothing and men’s neckties.
John was elected to the United Neighborhood Centers of America National Board of Directors and appointed Chairman of the Membership Committee. He also served on the board of directors of Visiting Nurses Association, Providence Community Action Program, Providence Recreation Advisory Board, and the Wanskuck Boys and Girls Club.
He was the co-founder of the Charles Street Revitalization Committee, Keep Providence Beautiful, Housing Development Corporation of the North End, the RI Senior Citizens Centers Directors’ Association, and the Providence Neighborhood Centers Executive Directors’ Association.
John was Chairman of the Episcopal Blue Ribbon Committee to study social services delivery and Providence community centers.
John traveled as far as Cambodia to volunteer and serve people in need by distributing food and food vouchers with the Wings of Hope Alliance.
He was a co-founder of the St. Ann’s Church Restoration Fund Drive and was a cornerstone of St. Ann’s Church by participating in the ministries of lector, Eucharistic minister, and service on the board of directors and countless committees.
He enjoyed being with his family, running in Lincoln Woods, and telling a good joke with his friends. His passion for baseball included his friendships with Domenic DiMaggio, Chris Iannetta, Rocco Baldelli and others. This unwavering passion for baseball extended to John traveling to Florida to try out with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the young age of 65.
John has served the community of the North End of Providence and the surrounding areas with an unmatched passion as well as an unwavering dedication for the past 50 years. He was able to always see the best in everyone and never saw anyone as beyond help. He was always wholeheartedly dedicated to helping everyone he encountered. He was truly a Good Samaritan and had an enormous influence on everyone he met. Despite our immense sadness currently, we also look back at this time as one of Thanksgiving in having known John. All we can hope is that we can follow in his footsteps and continue to “keep up the good work”.
He always lived his life in his own words, “Fulfilling other people’s dreams have become my dreams.”
His funeral will be held on Thursday, March 9th at 9:00 AM from the A.A. Mariani & Son Funeral Home, 200 Hawkins Street, Providence, RI, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM at St. Ann’s Church, 280 Hawkins Street, Providence, RI. Burial with Military Honors will follow at St. Francis Cemetery, Pawtucket, RI. Visiting hours are Wednesday from 4:00 – 8:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the DaVinciCenter, Providence, RI, or St. Ann’s Church, Providence, RI.