Joseph Betro, 85, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on January 27, 2023, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born in Walpole to the late Alice (Pagnini) and Andrew Betro and he graduated from Walpole High School with the Class of 1955. He has been happily married for over 65 years to his high school sweetheart, Carol (Sullivan), who was the center of his universe. Together they made their home and raised their family of eleven children in East Walpole.
Joe retired as Chief of the Walpole Police Department (WPD) in 2002 after more than 42 years in the Department. Chief Betro began his career working as a custodian at the police station in the late 1950’s, when he was convinced by his uncle, Officer Armando Betro, to join the Department. Joe became a Special Police Officer, often picking up shifts walking the Downtown beat. He also worked as an Ambulance Driver prior to being appointed a full-time Patrolman on August 1st, 1961 — the same night his Uncle Armando was promoted to Sergeant.
Over the course of his career, Chief Betro would ascend the ranks of the Department, holding the positions of Midnight Sergeant, Detective Sergeant and Lieutenant, before succeeding his Uncle Armando as Chief of Police. He was sworn in as Chief on January 28th, 1992 — and would hold office for the next decade.
Throughout his tenure, Chief Betro was the recipient of many citizen and Town/State commendations. During his time as Chief, the Department saw great advances in the fields of technology and community policing. He retired in the Spring of 2002 after four decades of dedicated service to the Town of Walpole.
Known by many as a “cop’s cop,” Chief Betro was a true leader who always advocated for his Officers, and provided his unwavering support for them and their families. He always remained fond of his tenure on the Midnight Shift. Joe was very active in the Massachusetts Police Association (MPA), having served as the Editor of the MPA’s Sentinel Magazine and eventually serving as an Executive Board Member, Vice President and then President of the MPA. Following his retirement from the WPD in May, 2002, he was appointed the 49th Massachusetts Racing Commissioner by Acting Governor Jane Swift, and fully retired in May 2005.
Having lived his entire life in Walpole, Joe was very committed to serving his community. He was passionate about the Walpole Little League. He treasured his time coaching and was instrumental in the expansion of Walpole Little League baseball fields to what today are the Burt and Restaino fields. He also served on the Walpole Housing Authority for many years. Joe was named Man of the Year by the Walpole Friends of Christopher Columbus in 1997, in recognition of his contributions to the Walpole Community.
In retirement, Joe loved attending his grandchildren’s numerous sporting events throughout the years. Joe kept a running calendar of all their games and no matter the season or the weather, Joe could be found on the sidelines or in the stands of as many games as possible, even as recently as this past fall.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his oldest daughter Patricia Ann Sullivan, and his sisters Shirley Ierardo and Patricia Cisternelli.
Joe is survived by his wife Carol and sisters Sarah Blanchard of Plymouth, Helen Howard of Walpole and Tina Betro of Wrentham. He was the loving father of Thomas Betro and his wife, Amy, of Franklin, Maureen Barrett, and her husband, Jeff, of Marion, Diane Barsomian and her husband, Jim, of Mansfield, Carolyn Turner and her husband, Mike, of Wrentham, Suzanne Rockwood and her husband, Paul, of Walpole, Pamela O’Meara and her husband, Kevin, of E. Walpole, Joseph Betro and his wife, Heather, of Williamsburg, VA, Daniel Betro of Quincy, Cassandra Betro of E. Walpole, and Melissa Madden of Foxboro.
Joe is also survived by his 26 grandchildren: Kevin Sullivan and his wife, Leigh; Michael Sullivan and his wife, Heather; Courtney, Tyler and Zachary Betro; Jeffrey, Andrew and Stephanie Barrett; Kenneth, Matthew and Michael Barsomian; Jennifer McGrail and her husband, Michael; Katherine Turner; Elizabeth DePierro and her husband, Brandon; Joseph Rockwood and his wife, Leah; Bryan Rockwood and his wife, Rachel; William and Molly Rockwood; Meghan, Jack and Kelly O’Meara; Thomas and Daniel Betro; Bradley and Victoria Madden; AJ Betro, and 4 great-grandchildren: Fisher and Riley Sullivan; Delia Sullivan; and Colton Barsomian.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend Joe's Life Celebration on Thursday, February 2, 2023, from 3 to 7 PM in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Blessed Sacrament Church, 10 Diamond Street, Walpole on Friday, February 3, 2023, at 12 Noon. Interment will take place privately.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Joseph Betro Scholarship Fund (Est. 1997) under the Walpole Scholarship Foundation, at walpolescholarshipfoundation.org, or mailed to:
Walpole Scholarship Foundation
PO Box 58
East Walpole, MA 02032