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Pete Papaleo passes away, co-founder of the Joe Hand Boxing Gym
The Joe Hand Boxing Gym is deeply saddened to pass on the news that Pete Papaleo, co-founder and manager of the gym and better known as “Petey Pop,” passed away Thursday, March 14. Pete, 68, was a wonderful friend to the Hand family for over 40 years and was their goodwill ambassador at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym.<
“Pete was just a great guy, a great friend and well-known throughout the boxing community,” said Joe Hand Sr.
“Pete was the first to greet you at the gym with a handshake and smile and made sure everything ran to perfection. Whenever we had a request at the gym, we would say, ‘Go see Petey Pop,’ and he always took care of everybody.
“When we first moved into the (Northern Liberties) area, the neighborhood didn’t want us. After we received the OK, a few months later Petey Pop became the neighbors’ best friend.
A good example was a lady that always walked down the street while going to church. On cold days, she never wore a hat, gloves or scarf. One day, Petey bought that lady a hat, gloves and scarf and told her he she shouldn’t have to freeze during her walks.”
Petey Pop enjoyed working with young boxers and volunteered his services each of the 16 years the gym hosted the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Tournament. Petey also maintained friendships with celebrities that used the Joe Hand Boxing Gym, including Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tony Danza.
“We not only grieve the passing of a tremendous individual but also for the loss his family suffers,” said Joe Hand Sr.
Visitation will be held Thursday at Holy Spirit Parish, 1845 Hartranft St., Philadelphia, PA, 19145, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Internment will be private.
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