Joseph Kochanek

Joseph J. "Joe" Kochanek

Sunday, July 2nd, 1944 - Thursday, November 5th, 2020
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*To Watch Mass of Christian Burial Live Stream*
START AT 10:00 AM, Monday, November 9, 2020

*To Watch Committal Service at the Cemetery Live Stream*
LIVE STREAMING WILL START AT 11:30 AM, Monday, November 9, 2020

Joseph J. “Joe” Kochanek Jr., 76, of Rocky Hill, beloved husband and best friend to Janice (DeFranco) Kochanek, passed away peacefully on November 5, 2020 at his home surrounded by his loving family. Born July 2, 1944, in Hartford, CT, he was the son of the late Joseph and Alexandra Kochanek. After graduating from Wethersfield High School, Joe joined the Navy serving as First Class Radarman on the USS John P. Kennedy Jr., which is now housed at Battleship Cove museum in Fall River, MA. After the Navy, he returned to Wethersfield and married the love of his life and high school sweet heart Jan in July of 1966. Soon thereafter, they purchased their first house in Rocky Hill and still call it home to this day. Joe began a long, respected 38-year career at Southern New England Telephone starting as a lineman and with hard work and dedication, he retired in 2004 as a Supervisor of Construction. Joe served in the Rocky Hill Volunteer Fire Department for 38 years and was fire chief for 11 of those years until his retirement in 2007. Joe held numerous public positions after his retirement, President of the Rocky Hill Historical Society, member of Planning & Zoning Commission, Public Safety Committee Chairman, he organized and led the creation of the Rocky Hill Fire Department Museum, and initiated and oversaw the Farm Land Preservation Committee, and then served on the Rocky Hill Town Council and also as Deputy Mayor. He concluded his public service as Mayor in 2018 to spend more time with his family and friends. Joe always believed in doing the right thing, he strongly supported preserving the town history, protecting the farms and securing the open space of Rocky Hill for future generations to enjoy, while attracting new businesses that complemented the community and family friendly town that he loved so much. He was a devout communicant of Saint James Catholic Church, never missing the 7:30 Mass on Sunday mornings. Joe and Jan's 54 year marriage has been admired by many. Having known each other since childhood, their marriage is the result of continuous work, understanding, forgiveness, dedication and at the end of the day, indescribable love for each other.
There are no words that can explain how greatly he will be missed, especially by his four daughters and their loving families; Gail and Bob Saucier of Rocky Hill, Jody Kochanek and Hugh John Shannon of Waterford, Anna and Brian Carnelli of Rocky Hill, MaryJo and Kerry Sheltra of Rocky Hill. Fourteen cherished grandchildren, Allison, Jacquelin, Bobby, Jessica, Cole, Carley, Kevin, Kyle, Jake, Zach, Josh, Alyssa, Noah and Luke. Brother and Sister-in-Law Larry and Kathi DeFranco and Sister-in-Law Cathy Kehoe, and “honorary daughter and sister” Meagan Ribera and family. Brother-in-Law Ed Toffolon. Cousins, Joanne Morin and Jimmy Buteau, Nieces; Amy Dolan, Rebecca James, Laura Preston, and nephew, Larry DeFranco. To know him was to know that family was everything to him and he always considered friends as family. In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by his sister Anne Toffolon. Joe's family would also like to thank Dr. Elias and the staff at the Harry and Helen Grey Cancer Treatment Center for their endless support and work over the past two years. The Hospice team from Hartford Healthcare for their support and care of Joe and his family.
Friends and relatives may pay their respects Sunday, November 8, 2020 from 2-6 p.m. at the Farley - Sullivan Funeral Home, 34 Beaver Rd., Wethersfield. Due to the pandemic and capacity, the Mass of Christian Burial celebrating Joe's life will be held privately on Monday, November 9, 2020 at 10a.m. For all who wish to watch, the Mass of Christian Burial will be lived streamed at All are welcome to attend Joe’s burial which will follow in Rocky Hill Center Cemetery (Section 153), Rocky Hill, at 11:30a.m. The family requests in lieu of flowers, memorial donations are made in Joe's name to the Rocky Hill Fire Department Association Scholarship Fund 3050 Main Street, Rocky Hill, CT 06067 or the Rocky Hill Historical Society 785 Old Main Street Rocky Hill, CT 06067 P.O. Box 185. To extend online condolences or for further information, please visit

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, November 8th, 2020 | 2:00pm - 6:00pm
    Sunday, November 8th, 2020 2:00pm - 6:00pm
    Farley-Sullivan Funeral Home, Wethersfield
    34 Beaver Rd.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Center Cemetery- Rocky Hill
    Main Street and Dividend Road
    ROCKY HILL, CT 06067
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Love, Eddie & Denise, The Dolans & The James famil sent flowers to the family of Joseph J. "Joe" Kochanek.
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John Bischoff

Posted at 03:31pm
When I was working for the town facilities dept. Joe would sometimes offer his words of wisdom, however. a story I will always enjoy recalling is during 7:30 mass at St. Elizabeth Seaton I would sometimes assist with presenting the gifts and when returning to my seat Joe would give me the thumbs up sign. Thanks Joe. Our prayers are with you and your family, John and Ann Bischoff

Lou Presta

Posted at 01:23pm
Jan & Family :
So sorry to hear about Joe. We are thinking of you and family members with deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. So sorry for your loss. Lou Presta & Cindy Cooper

Linda Tokarski

Posted at 10:01am
Dear MaryJo and Kerry please accept my condolences- I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers...Linda Tokarski

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 09:49am
Mr. Kochanek was loved beyond all feeling and will be missed with a grief beyond all tears. Someone so special will never be forgotten. Love you all!
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Barbara Gilbert

Posted at 09:01am
Sending our condolences to both his family and his community. Mayor/Chief Kochanek was a dedicated loving family man and a dedicated community leader. Rocky Hill is better because of Joe’s leadership, both as Mayor and as Fire Chief. May his family and everyone who had the good fortune to know him find solace in their memories of this wonderful man. May he Rest In Peace. John and Barbara Gilbert

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