John Mastrandrea

John Joseph Mastrandrea

Tuesday, October 25th, 1932 - Sunday, November 10th, 2019
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John Joseph Mastrandrea, 87, born October 25, 1932 in Hartford, son of the late Frank and Annina Mastrandrea, died peacefully on November 10, 2019 comforted by the love of his family. He was predeceased by wife Dixie, the love of his life for 60 years. Theirs was a passionate romance, as they danced together through life to the songs of Frank Sinatra. The Mastrandrea household was full of family, friends, love, and laughter with John always at its center. He will be deeply missed by his five children and their spouses: Karen and Brien DeBari of Farmington, Diane and James Fishman of West Hartford, Barbara and William Schulz of Burlington, Frank and Joan Mastrandrea of Shrewsbury, MA, and John and Beth Mastrandrea of Roslyn, NY. He is also survived by his loving sister and brother-in-law Barbara and Sam Agostino, and his brother-in-law Robert Burns.
He will be forever remembered as a devoted Grandpa who proudly attended the many sporting, musical, and dramatic events of his 11 grandchildren: Brett, Andrew (wife Sarah), Tyler, and Shannon DeBari; Julianne (husband Austin Slitt), Christina (husband Alexander Steckel), and Ross Fishman; Gregory (wife Emily) and Daniel Schulz; Jake Mastrandrea, and Mikaila Mastrandrea. He was blessed with six great grandchildren: Elizabeth Dixie and Logan DeBari; Grayson, Cameron and Lincoln Slitt, and Surrey Steckel.
John was a standout in the insurance business for more than 50 years, during 45 of which he was a member of the Million Dollar Round Table -- a designation reserved for the world’s leading life insurance sales professionals. Beyond sales, he became a sought-after motivational speaker, traveling near and far to engage organizations ranging from large corporations to professional sports teams with humor and wisdom about “Your Secret Weapon” and ways to “Develop a Positive Mental Attitude.”
John was a member of the US Navy during the Korean War, serving three tours of duty on the USS MacKenzie. He earned the rank of Yeoman Petty Officer Second Class, performing administrative duties for the highest officer aboard his ship. He also competed in the Naval featherweight boxing division, winning three fights. Whenever home on leave, he traveled from Hartford to Brooklyn, NY to see his beloved Dodgers play, always wearing his uniform as members of the armed forces received free admission. The highlight of his time in the Navy, of course, was when he met his wife Dixie while in Yeoman School in San Diego.
Aside from his love of family, John had three other passions – golf, the stage, and UConn basketball. He was a member of Avon Country Club for 50 years, where he was known for his dynamic short game and even more dynamic wit. He once got his handicap as low as five (5), but continued to love the game even after he was physically unable to play competitively. He made many great friends through Avon over the years, both on the course, and around the gin rummy table.
A natural performer, John was drawn to community theater as an adult, despite having no previous acting experience. His roles in The Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys, Come Blow Your Horn, The Crucible and What The Rabbi Saw drew not only great acclaim, but delighted his family and friends to no end.
For many years, John was a constant figure at every UConn men’s basketball home game in every building from the old Field House, to the Civic Center to Gampel Pavilion. He and his friends would travel to NYC for the Big East tournament every year, and he was present for big moments like the 1988 NIT Championship, Tate George’s miracle shot against Clemson in 1990, and UConn’s first-ever NCAA Championship against Duke in Tampa in 1999. In later years, he and Dixie would take just as much joy watching the games on TV, as they became equally big fans of the women’s team.
John was Past President of the Kiwanis Club, President of the Sales & Marketing Executives, Board Member of the Hartford YMCA, Volunteer Ombudsman for the Elderly Long Term Care Program and a long time communicant of the Church of St. Timothy.
John attended St. Michael School where he played basketball and was graduated from Weaver High School in 1950 after excelling at cross country and making many lifelong friends. His first jobs were working as a stock boy at G. Fox, and at the Post Office where he worked alongside his father. He earned an Associate Arts degree from Hillyer College / University of Hartford in 1959, attending classes at night after selling Burroughs adding machines by day as well as selling silverware door-to-door in his spare time.
Calling hours will be from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Sunday, November 24 at the Sheehan-Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home, 1084 New Britain, Ave., West Hartford.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 am on Monday, November 25 at the Church of St. Timothy, 1116 North Main St., West Hartford, followed by a reception. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in John’s name to the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Fund 80 Seymour Street, P.O. Box 5037, Hartford, CT 06102.
The family would like to thank Arden Courts of Farmington and McLean Hospice of Simsbury for providing our dad with such compassionate care. Online condolences may be made at
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, November 24th, 2019 | 2:00pm - 6:00pm
    Sunday, November 24th, 2019 2:00pm - 6:00pm
    Sheehan-Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home
    1084 New Britain Avenue
    West Hartford, CT 06110
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Monday, November 25th, 2019 | 10:00am
    Monday, November 25th, 2019 10:00am
    Church of Saint Timothy
    1116 North Main Street, West Hartford, 06117
    West Hartford, CT 06117
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


Donations are being accepted for: Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center.


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Sonja Young

Posted at 09:31am

To: James Fishman and Family
May memories of John Joseph Mastrandrea and the love of Family surround you and give you strength. May there be comfort in knowing that someone so special will never be forgotten.

Sonja Young

Diane McGowan

Posted at 09:16pm
You only had to meet your Dad once to understand the amazing, wonderful person that he was. So many memories we all share with your family. Your Dad will be missed - but never forgotten. We are all better people because we knew your Dad. The party began when your Mom and Dad arrived! You know he is entertaining someone in heaven and your Mom is just shaking her head!
Sending you all our love and prayers. Diane (D'Annolfo) McGowan

Lynna Pollard

Posted at 01:50pm
Diane and family, It sounds like your dad and granddad was quite the man. And a lot of fun. I’m sure u will all miss him.
Lynna Maidman Pollard

Al Fichman

Posted at 12:06pm
To Diane and the entire Mastandrea family: my heart goes out to you, at the loss of your father, of blessed memory. I pray the great healer, Time, fills the emptiness you must feel with warm, loving memories.

Terry Ryan

Posted at 06:41am
John was the "Arnold Palmer" of the Golf Club Of Avon, a life well played. John's true vocation was human relationships. When you saw John the frowns of life went away. He would give you that handshake, hug, or even the kiss on the fore head and it was true and sincere. John did not waste any time on the golf course or the card table always the first to finish a match or hand and give everyone due praise or a gentle needle. To think that he now reunited with Dixie is the greatest Birdie or hand he ever had. For those who went before him like my father they get their friend and partner back.

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