Joseph was born in Mellieha, Malta on December 3, 1949, son of the late Michael and Victoria (DeGuara) Vella. He was a graduate of Holy Redeemer Catholic High School Class of 1968. His thirst for knowledge and commitment to excellence would later extend to his service in the U.S. Army, where he served his country with pride. On November 27, 1971, Joseph married the love of his life, Mary Lynn Kapanke, in Detroit, MI. Their union was a source of strength and joy throughout his life. Joseph’s professional journey led him to a career with General Motors, where he dedicated more than 15 years of service. Outside of his professional life, Joseph had a multitude of interests and passions. He enjoyed spending time on the bowling lanes, nurturing his garden, and actively participating in various volunteer initiatives. His heart was always open to helping those in need, evident through his involvement with Meals on Wheels in Houghton Lake, Hospitality House in Walled Lake, and his role as a 4th Degree Grand Knight with the Knights of Columbus. Joseph also served as a eucharistic minister for numerous churches, including St. Michael Catholic Church in Walled Lake, and was a valued member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Davison, MI. Joseph’s spirit of giving extended far beyond his local community, as he volunteered at food pantries in both Mississippi and Michigan, starting in 1974. He was also known for his dedication to St. Michael Bingo events, where his contributions were greatly appreciated. Joseph Vella leaves behind a legacy of selflessness, dedication, and a commitment to making the world a better place. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all those whose lives he touched through his tireless service and warm heart. Joseph’s memory will live on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know him, and his legacy of kindness and compassion will continue to inspire generations to come.
Joseph is survived by his wife, Mary L. Vella; 4 children, Anthony M. (Dori Wilcox) Vella, Victoria E. (Wayne) Kushmaul, Michele L. (Tony) Chavez and Joseph P. (Kristy) Vella; 14 grandchildren, Samantha (Jessie) Talbot, Lillian Vella-Whitman, Anthony Vella Jr., Matthew Vella, Joshua Baker, Andrew Baker, Emily-Rose Kushmaul, Brianna Vella, Katelyn Vella, Salina Chavez, Issac Chavez, Lucas Vella, Austin Vella and Janell Vella; 6 great-grandchildren, Aliyah Green, Andrew Krohn, Ariel Krohn, Gunner Talbot, Mary Talbot and Aurora Whitman; 3 siblings, Paula Bartolo, Charles (Shirley) Vella and Rita Vella; 2 very special nieces who lovingly referred to him as “Uncle Dad”, Jennifer Anderson and Heather (Phong) Nguyen; many nephews, nieces and loving friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Victoria Vella; grandson, Gabriel Kushmaul; 2 sisters, Carmen (George) Scicluna and Mary Bartolo; brother-in-law, Vince Bartolo.