Obituary of Joe Cavaleri
Joe Cavaleri, The Ooh Ahh Man, passed away on July 8, 2023, of respiratory failure due to Parkinson’s Disease. He was born on March 2, 1952, in Mt. Kisco, NY. Joe resided in Pawling, NY in his early years and graduated from Pawling High School in 1970. He got his love of sports from his father, Tino. New York City was an easy car ride from Pawling, NY. Joe was a boy in a time when you could just show up at the stadium, buy a ticket, and watch a game. In the early 60’s, Tino often took Joe to Yankee Stadium where he watched games whose roster included Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, and Whitey Ford, with Casey Stengel as the manager. Joe was taken to the newly built Shea Stadium where the Mets played, saw the NY Knicks live at Madison Square Garden, and the Harlem Globetrotters play at the County Seat in White Plains, NY. Joe played Little League and enjoyed golf, but his passion was basketball. He played for Pawling High School on the Junior Varsity the Varsity teams.
After graduating high school, Joe attended Dutchess Community College for two years. He then decided to move to Tucson, AZ, where one of his sisters was already living. About ten years later, his parents and two younger siblings followed. Joe loved kids, whether it was his much younger siblings, or later, his own children, he would be the one at the “kids” table making them laugh with made-up songs and silly voices. Later, he frequently visited his children’s elementary school as the Ooh Ahh Man, where he would perform mini-pep rallies and sign autographs.
With his quick wit and lively personality, Joe was a successful bartender and worked many years at The Bum Steer and Carlos Murphy’s, and later was a manager at the Solarium restaurant. He enjoyed being around people and liked to entertain patrons with his joke-telling and impressions, but his most rewarding career was being a stay-at-home dad to his four children.
Joe loved attending the University of Arizona’s games but felt the crowd needed to be more engaged...and so in 1979 he began his superfan days of the Ooh Ahh Man. Unfortunately, he began having some pain and health issues in 2007 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009. The debilitative nature of the disease caused him to hang up his Ooh-Ahh cape for good in 2013, though he still attended games regularly. Even over the last year, when Joe’s health had worsened, he was able to attend all the home basketball games for the 2022-23 season. His TV was always tuned to some sporting event, and he was still running his fantasy football league. Joe was always appreciative of all the support he received from the University of Arizona, specifically the Athletic Department, its staff, the players, and of course, the fans.
Joe is preceded in death by his father, Tino, his mother, Muriel, and stepmother Rita. He is survived by his four children: Michael, Angelina, Sophia, and Olivia; five grandchildren: Annabella, Lillianna, Asher, Annalicia, and Rita; his three siblings: Terry Cavaleri Wood (Frank), Teena Cavaleri Clark (James), and Patrick Cavaleri (Angela); nephew Vince Clark; Aunt Elizabeth Pulver; and numerous first and second cousins.
He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and a great number of UA sports fans.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Parkinson’s FoundationTo send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joe Cavaleri, please visit Tribute Store