Dr. Joseph Peter D'Arelli, loving husband, devoted father, and cherished friend to many, was swept into the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, January 30th at the age of 78.
He was born March 1st, 1940 in New York City, to Carlo and Raffaella (Di Tomasso) D'Arelli. He graduated in 1964 from the University of Southern California (USC) with a double major in Biology and Medical Technology, and in 1967 he graduated from the Los Angeles College of Optometry. On April 12, 1964, he married Sheila Eileen Kelly, whom he met as a student at USC, and they raised three sons, Michael, Paul and Mark, and two daughters, Julie and Lisa.
Joe established the San Gabriel Valley Trojan Club and became the eye doctor for the USC football team. He remained an ardent USC football fan until the very end, wrapped in two USC football blankets and wearing a USC football shirt at his passing.
In 1975 Joe and the family moved to the Santa Ynez Valley where he established optometry practices in Santa Ynez and Lompoc. Joe had an insatiable love for the Lord and for almost 20 years, he and Sheila opened their home in Santa Ynez Oaks for prayer meetings on Thursday evenings to people of all faiths.
He had a great love for horses, and he was a talented musician, playing the piano, trumpet, banjo and guitar. Joe played his guitar and led the choir at the Old Mission Santa Ines for many years, and in 1985 he became an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church. He spread the gospel far and wide over the course of his life, ministering to thousands of people. Joe began a prison ministry at Lompoc Federal Penitentiary and spent many years playing his guitar and spreading the Word of the Lord to inmates.
Joe had a personality and a sense of humor that warmed people's hearts wherever he went. He touched countless lives with his stories, jokes, music, and his friendship.
Nothing was more important to Joe than his relationship with Jesus Christ, his love for his wife Sheila, and his devotion to his family. His life was a selfless one, and through example he showed the rest of us how to be a committed and loving husband, a devoted father, and a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Joe is preceded in death by his father Carlo Victor D'Arelli, and he is survived by his mother Raffaella (Di Tomasso) D'Arelli, his beloved wife and “queen” of 54 years, Sheila, his five children, Michael (Sharon) D'Arelli, Paul (Mylene) D'Arelli, Julie (Robert) Kennedy, Lisa (Matt) Monciardini, Mark (Mientje) D'Arelli, and 12 grandchildren.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10AM on Friday, February 15th, 2019, at Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang. The funeral will be preceded by the Rosary at 9:45AM, and followed by a celebration of his life in the parish hall, and a graveside service at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Ballard at 2PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Sarah House of Santa Barbara, P.O. Box 20031, Santa Barbara, CA 93120, sarahousesb.org, 501(c)3 ID 77-0224415.
Loper Funeral Chapel, Directors.