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Official Obituary of

Leo J. Rocco, Jr.

January 31, 1941 ~ February 22, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old
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Leo Rocco, Jr. Obituary

Leo J. Rocco Jr. – Newburyport, MA


Leo Jacob Rocco, 83, passed away on February 22, 2024 at High Pointe House in Haverhill, MA.. He passed peacefully holding his grandson’s hand and surrounded by the love of his family.


He was the son of Leo and Evelyn (Fitzgerald) Rocco, born on January 31, 1941, in Newburyport, MA.


He attended the Immaculate Conception School and graduated from Newburyport High School in 1959.


Leo grew up spending summers at the family cottage on Plum Island, hunting and fishing in his beloved Merrimack River.


He met the only woman brave enough to take him on, Mary Elizabeth Manning, and they married on May 21, 1966.


In his early years, Leo worked at Western Electric in North Andover, MA before becoming a full-time firefighter for the City of Newburyport where he proudly served for 34 years. Leo was the 2nd Harbormaster for the City of Newburyport and was largely responsible for the revitalization of recreational boating in the port city. Leo was a commercial lobster fisherman and ran a lobster pound out of his garage for many years.


Leo had a deep passion for nature, wildlife, hunting and fishing. If he hunted it, he cooked it, always coming up with creative ways to disguise deer, geese and pheasant at family dinners. If you were one of the lucky ones, Leo would make his infamous lobsters and spaghetti, a recipe passed down from Al Capone’s chef. Leo’s boundless enthusiasm for nature was infectious, igniting the same sense of wonder and reverence in all who had the privilege of learning from him. He knew every creature large and small that lived within a 20-mile radius. He may have caught a million striped bass in his lifetime, but each time, he had the excitement as if it was the first.


In 2001, Leo was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a form of cancer that at the time, had a median survival rate of 5 years. Leo was one of the first to receive a cord blood transplant, groundbreaking therapy that cured him of cancer. Leo and his family credit Dr. Joseph Antin and the exemplary care he received at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, for giving him 23 more years of living his life to the fullest.


Leo is survived by his wife of nearly fifty-eight years, Mary E. Rocco, his daughters Kimellen (Todd) Gibbons of East Kingston, NH and Jennifer Rocco-Runnion of Amesbury, MA. Grandchildren Ryan (Kate), Jordyn, Jackson, Jacob, Zion, Sunny and Blu. He is survived by his brother Richard (Julie) Rocco, his sister-in-law Claire (Jack) Goodridge and many nieces and nephews.


There will be a private service at the Twomey, LeBlanc, & Conte Funeral Home 193 High St. Newburyport, MA 01950, followed by a burial at St. Mary’s Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held at The Elks in Newburyport, MA on March 1, 2024, at 5pm. All are welcome and encouraged to attend to share stories and memories.


In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Leo’s name to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute or Elara Caring Hospice in Byfield, MA.


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Celebration of Life
March 1, 2024

5:00 PM
Elks Lodge (Low Street, Newburyport)

Private Services


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
10 Brookline Place, W 6th floor, Brookline MA 02445
Tel: 1-800-525-4669


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