Obituary

Joseph 'Ping' Puente, outdoorsman, hockey referee, Ping’s Sausage Shop owner

Joseph 'Ping' Charles Puente Jr, long time resident of Barre, passed away peacefully in his sleep at Barre Gardens on July 10, 2022 at the age of 93.

Born March 19, 1929 in Barre, he was the son of Elsie (Brusa) Puente and Jose 'Pepe' Carlos Puente Sr. He attended Barre City schools and graduated from Spaulding High School in 1948.  On July 21, 1951, he married Anna Broggini at the Saint Monica's Catholic Church in Barre where they made their home for all of their married life.

His love for the outdoors began as a youngster playing and hunting in the fields and woods near his home with any pal who would join. He was always eager to tag along with family for the chance to go fishing or to someone's farm to play or help milk goats.

He served in the U.S Army from 1951 to 1953 as a Private First Class in the Military Police, and was stationed at Fort Jackson, S. C. and then Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He wanted to be a pilot, however a hernia discovered on the admissions physical exam changed his plans. The Korean War ended one week before he was due to be shipped overseas. He received an Honorable Discharge.

After returning to Barre from the Army, he owned and operated Ping's Flying A service station and automobile shop on Main Street. During that time he owned the red and white Flying A race car that ran at Thunder Road International Speedbowl. Although he never drove in a race, he kept it running in tip top shape for whoever was driving.

After selling the station in 1965, he worked as a salesman for John Hancock and Met Life Insurance Companies, Suburban Tractor as a mechanic, Jockey Hollow Pizza, and as a loan officer for the Howard Bank and the Northfield Savings Bank.  After retiring from NSB, he started Ping’s Sausage Shop in Barre, making and selling a variety of sausages using traditional Italian and Spanish recipes, polenta and holiday pizzelles until he sold the business in 2007.

For years he volunteered with the local chapter of the American Red Cross by placing signs around Barre to notify the community of an upcoming blood drive. During his lifetime he donated approximately 30 gallons of blood.

He became one of the first ice hockey officials in Vermont and in 1963, with the help of his wife Anna, co-founded the Vermont Chapter of the National Ice Hockey Officials Association (NIHOA). He began officiating in 1959 doing men's league games and in 1960 began doing high school games at the old Taylor Arena at Norwich University. As the leagues grew, he also refereed college games, youth hockey games, girls hockey, broomball games, school championships and two New England Championships. He was inducted into the Vermont Principals' Association Hall of Fame in 2003 for his support of youth athletics and continued to referee into his 70s.

Summer weekends were spent with family and friends at the family camp on Lake Seymour in Morgan, VT which he purchased in 1955. Days were filled with water skiing, fishing, mushroom hunting, building something, fixing something, puttering around camp, relaxing in the sun or going for a leisurely ride around the lake. Evenings were spent grilling out or having huge fish frys, followed by gatherings around a campfire or a bonfire on the beach, which always included music. He was a member of the Seymour Lake Association and helped monitor the quality of the lake water. He was an avid gardener of flowers, fruit trees and vegetables.

He enjoyed deer hunting and excelled at rabbit hunting with his trusty beagle Mickey, and then Radar 'the dog of all dogs'. His beagle Shadow was his constant companion in spite of 'Shaddy' locking his owner out of his own car.  Winter outdoor enjoyment included downhill skiing, ice fishing and watching Norwich University men's hockey games. Go Wic!

He was a Life Member of the Mutuo Italian-American Club after joining in 1950, and enjoyed the dinner-dances, the family dinners and cooking in the kitchen. He was also a member of the Barre Elks Club.

He was preceded in death by his wife Anna (Broggini) Puente, his brother George Puente and his sister Evelina (Puente) Abbiati.  He is survived by his daughters Joanne Puente (Worcester, VT), Susan Samsonow (West Hartford, VT) and grandchildren Daniel Fantoni (Fairfax, VT), Aleta Fantoni (Huson, MT) and Grace Samsonow Costa (Morrisville, VT).

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Monica’s Catholic Church in Barre, where he was a member, on Monday, July 18, 2022 at 10 am. A graveside service will follow at Hope Cemetery in Barre.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Central Vermont Youth Hockey program.

He was never one to mince words when sharing his opinion or his sense of humor. He had a strong sense of community and was proud to be an American and a native Vermonter.

'Plan your work and work your plan’. He will be sadly missed.


Family Information

He was preceded in death by his wife Anna (Broggini) Puente, his brother George Puente and his sister Evelina (Puente) Abbiati.  He is survived by his daughters Joanne Puente (Worcester, VT), Susan Samsonow (West Hartford, VT) and grandchildren Daniel Fantoni (Fairfax, VT), Aleta Fantoni (Huson, MT) and Grace Samsonow Costa (Morrisville, VT).

Submitted by:

Susan Samsonow
[email protected]


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