John Papa

Obituary of John P. Papa

John P. Papa, 65, of Boston died peacefully surrounded by his family after a brief fight with cancer. He is survived by his wife Joan (Capone) Papa, daughter Alana (Papa) Goodman and her husband Samuel Goodman of Norfolk, daughter Alicia (Papa) de Oliveira and her husband Vinicius de Oliveira of Hopedale, his son Anthony Papa and his wife Bethany (Mohr) Papa of Chicago, and his son by marriage Gerald Sarro of East Boston. John is also survived by his grandchildren Sophia, Gabriella, Benjamin, Jacob, Nathanael, Caleb, and Hayden who were the light of his life. His siblings Diana (Papa) Deeran and her husband William Morton of Tucson, Linda (Papa) Scalfani and her partner Eddie Lombardo of Fort Myers, Vincent J. Papa and his wife Hildy Papa of Revere, and Dorothy (Papa) DiMille of East Boston and dozens of nieces and nephews he adored. He was preceded in death by his parents Vincent J. Papa and Dorothea M. (Diorio) Papa and his brother in laws, James “Buster” Scalfani and East Boston’s #1 DJ, John M. DiMille.

John was born in Boston, MA to Vincent and Dorothea Papa on November 27, 1958. He grew up on White St. in East Boston alongside his four loving siblings. John was a talented football player who loved to relive his successes on the field and as an avid fan could be found yelling advice at Coach Belichick on Sundays to make sure his beloved Patriots won - he never did get the coaching paycheck his wife told him he deserved. John was incredibly intelligent and attended Suffolk University while concurrently attending East Boston High School his senior year. Later in life, he found a love of gardening and was an amazing gardener with the greenest thumb out there. He always seemed to know how to do things and what he didn’t know how to do innately, he always figured out. His “knowing” and ability to patiently teach those around him will be missed.

John and Joan knew each other their whole lives and in 2013 something changed, and a beautiful love bloomed. They shared a deep connection and could often be found making each other laugh. Despite finding one another later in life they loved one another deeply and set a beautiful example for everyone around them. Joan’s love changed John and brought his heart peace, giving his kids and grandkids an even more loving and compassionate dad and grandpa.

John loved the sun, he often joked that it was female and “she loves me”, which is why his children grew up traveling the islands. He loved to sit outside and smoke his cigars and make people feel loved and welcome. He told terrible dad jokes and lived to make people laugh. He never met a stranger and quietly helped more people than could be counted over the years.

He will be remembered for his kindness, big smile, quick wit, and deep booming laugh.

Relatives and friends will be invited to attend a celebration of life in Boston at a future date. In lieu of flowers the family asks donations be made to John’s favorite charity, St. Judes in his honor. Donate now to St. Jude and help kids fighting cancer - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (

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A Memorial Tree was planted for John
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Brings Broadway Chapel
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