Newburyport — Joseph Fanaras passed away peacefully October 31, 2012 at his winter home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
He was born March 28, 1925 in Haverhill, the youngest of seven children of Greek immigrants Anthony and Marianthe (Gramanas) Fanaras. He grew up in the Haverhill-Bradford area during the depression and began his working life at a very young age as a shoe shine boy. At the age of 13, he was employed by the Knipe Shoe Company in Ward Hill where he worked until 1943 when he was inducted into the United States Army. He served from 1943 through 1945 as a member of the 1st Army, 78th “Lightning” Division, 310th Regiment, Company F and was wounded on March 5, 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge. He received the Purple Heart, among many other medals and ribbons for his service. After his discharge, he moved to Newburyport, where he resided the rest of his life. He made Fort Lauderdale, Fla. his winter home beginning in 1998.
Mr. Fanaras was employed during the 1950's at the Ruth Shoe factory and Towle Silversmiths in Newburyport before joining the State of Massachusetts Highway Department where he was employed as a surveyor and highway engineer until his retirement in 1988. He also was a builder. In 1951 he built his home at 32 Myrtle Avenue in Newburyport with his own hands, an experience that inspired his love of building and pride of workmanship. During most of his adult life he owned and managed several real estate development and construction companies responsible for the creation of numerous residential, commercial and industrial properties in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, including many homes in Newburyport’s Turkey Hill area, along Low Street and Hunter Drive, Colonial Heights Condominiums on Zabriskie Drive and the Salisbury Industrial Park in Salisbury. Mr. Fanaras was a man who insisted on quality work and took great pride in the properties he created.