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May 21, 1930 – Sept. 18, 2013

Joseph A. Divita, a former business owner, died Wednesday in his Town of Tonawanda home after a lengthy illness.

He was 83.

Born in Buffalo, Mr. Divita graduated from Burgard High School, then enlisted in the Marines. He served stateside during the Korean War.

Mr. Divita graduated from the Coyne Electrical and Television-Radio School in Chicago in 1954.

He worked as an estimator for the construction company Donald Fraser & Son from 1960 to 1974. From 1974 until his retirement in 1987, Mr. Divita and his wife owned Guildcraft Co. of Buffalo, a wholesale catalog business on Main Street, near the University at Buffalo.

Mr. Divita was active in the Lutheran church. He was a preaching and liturgical deacon and a Sunday school superintendent, and he served on the Church Council while at Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church on West Ferry Street.

When the church closed in 1973, he joined Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Town of Tonawanda, where he initiated the church’s Prayer Partner program, was chairman of the Hunger Fund for many years and worked with the church’s Outreach Refugee Program.

In 2000, he was honored by Vive La Casa in Buffalo for his volunteer work with refugees, and in 2003, Mr. Divita received a service award from the Network of Religious Communities.

Mr. Divita was also a licensed amateur radio operator and licensed private pilot. After he retired, he enjoyed cooking and entering his recipes in contests.

Mr. Divita once took fourth place in a competition sponsored by Family Circle Magazine and was one of 12 finalists selected to compete in the National Oyster Cook-Off in Maryland.

Mr. Divita is survived by his wife of 58 years, the former Audrey Dean; a brother, Timothy; and two sisters, Mickey Gorski and Geri Sagliani.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Augustana Lutheran Church, 3143 Eggert Road, Town of Tonawanda.