Obituary of Joseph Roman

October 16, 2023

On Oct 16th 2023, we learned that our loving father, Joseph ("Joe") Neftalí Roman, passed away peacefully at home. He is survived by his two sons Kelly Joseph Roman and Christopher A. Joseph Roman, their spouses (Robyn and Peter), and his grand-daughter Bija Roman, who was the apple of his eye.  He also leaves his surviving brothers and sisters and their families, for whom he had the greatest affection.

Joe was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on March 23, 1934, one of seven surviving children, and the oldest surviving son of Monserrate Román nee García and Joseph O. Román, who  were born in Puerto Rico.   He also has five siblings from his father's second marriage.  His parents instilled in Joe a tireless work ethic, commitment to family and community, the value of education, and personal integrity - values he instilled in his sons.

Upon completing high school, Joe joined the US Army and served in Korea until the armistice in July 1953. A memorable moment for him was when he was assigned to escort the actress Debbie Reynolds when she arrived on a USO tour to support the troops.  He also fondly recollected his role in overseeing the physical fitness of his fellow soldiers, as well as his brief but memorable R&R in Japan.

Joe's professional life reflected his values.  An intrepid entrepreneur, he started his own successful, Manhattan-based insurance investigation firm, Verity Research Corporation, in the 1970s, which served a number of large insurance companies. He was one of the few investigators of Puerto Rican heritage, who tried to bring justice to victims and their families in communities that were largely underserved by other agencies at the time.  While running his business, he returned to school and completed his B.A. at LaGuardia Community College.

After running his business for more than twenty years, Joe made a decision to change careers to better serve people in need, and earned an associate degree  from Maria College and the certification to practice as a Physical Therapist Associate.  He practiced in western Massachusetts, then relocated to San Diego in 2004, where he practiced in multiple rehab centers that served a great diversity of clients, from young people with debilitating musculoskeletal disorders, to WWII veterans.  Some of the most meaningful and rewarding experiences of his life occurred through this work and seeing the people he worked with regain not only ambulatory capacity but confidence and joy - simply put, he loved supporting their recovery and success.  He also had an acute eye for quality improvement and developed a keen interest in wound care, and researched a way to revise bandage changes that improved healing and was adopted by his facility.

Joe wrote poetry and loved the beauty and tranquility of nature, and spent countless hours thoughtfully developing his 7-acre property in upstate NY - buildings stone walls and gardens, erecting a barn, digging a pond, and extending the size of his house, all as a means of personal meditation and as a place to enjoy his immediate and extended family, which he loved. He treasured his family and got the most joy and pride in seeing them succeed.  He absolutely adored his "princess" Bija Roman.

In lieu of flowers, Joe would have appreciated a gift made in his memory to an organization that serves US military veterans.


Funeral Services

Memorial Service

November 5, 2023

11:00 AM to 1:00 Pm

Greenwich Village Funeral Home

199 Bleecker St.

New York City, NY 10012

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