Joseph J. Arcieri, whose career as a librarian at the Enoch Pratt Free Library spanned three decades, died July 22 of COVID-19 and heart failure at Gilchrist Hospice in Towson. The Stoneleigh resident was 76.
“Joe dedicated many years to this institution and he was very important to us,” said Caprice Di Liello, director of the Maryland department of Enoch Pratt. “He was the go-to person when there were complicated questions about law and politics. He was so kind and, despite his encyclopedic knowledge, never made you feel like you were somehow less than him.
Joseph James Arcieri, son of Connecticut Department of Public Works employee Lawrence Arcieri and Dorothy Cantwell Arcieri, homemaker and secretary of Travelers Insurance Company in Cockeysville, was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, where he grew up in an Italian-American neighborhood, family members said.
He had graduated from St. Thomas Seminary, a high school in Bloomfield, Connecticut, with the intention of studying for the priesthood. He graduated from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts.
In the early 1970s, Paul A. Twist worked with M. Arcieri at Boston University’s Mugar Memorial Library.
“We used to work together at BU at the time, working with people and sorting and storing books,” recalls Mr Twist, who retired in 2016 from Emerson College, where he had been a librarian for 28 year.
“Joe was very studious, and he had been to seminary, and we had literary pretensions,” he laughed.
Mr. Arcieri and several like-minded boon mates used to meet at Jacob Wirth Co. on Stuart Street, a German restaurant in downtown Boston that served its first beer and German food in 1868. It was the second most old working restaurant in town. until its closure in 2018.
“We met regularly at Jacob Wirth’s house to talk about literature, and spent many happy hours together sipping beer and talking about books and politics,” Mr Twist said. “That’s what we did before we discovered women.”
Mr. Arcieri was working at the Boston University library when he met his future wife, the former Janice MacGregor, a therapist at McLean Hospital in Boston, who was about to leave to take up a position as an assistant professor of therapeutic recreation at the former Eastern Washington College, now Eastern Washington University, in Cheney, Washington.
“We met three weeks before I left,” Ms Arcieri said. “He was the most interesting man I have ever met.”
Mr. Arcieri quit his job at Boston University and pursued his future wife, whom he was in love with, and married her in 1975.
“I was the best man when he got married,” Mr. Twist said.
While living in Washington, Arcieri earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Washington in Seattle. After being unable to find employment in Washington State, he took a job as a librarian in Kenner, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, where one of his responsibilities was to drive the library’s bookmobile around the rural countryside, where residents did not have access to a brick-and-mortar library.
His wife eventually joined him at Kenner after taking a job with Catholic Charities as an adult daycare director in New Orleans.
While working at Kenner, Arcieri earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of New Orleans. To be closer to family in Baltimore and Connecticut, the couple moved to a house on Kenleigh Road in Stoneleigh, where they raised their two daughters.
In 1986, Mr Arcieri began working as a librarian at the city center Enoch Pratt Free Library on Cathedral Street, “where he has helped thousands of people over the years with research, sources for dissertations and by finding various books, articles and topics related to political science,” wrote a daughter, Katie Arcieri Perschy, of Arlington, Va., who is an S&P Global Market Intelligence reporter, in a biographical profile of her father.
“Having worked at Pratt since 1989, I knew your father well,” Gordon E. Krabbe, chief operating officer of Enoch Pratt, wrote in an email to Ms. Perschy. “He was one of our accomplished librarians, always helping his clients to the best of his abilities. I know I’ve asked him about references a number of times and he’s always been very helpful. »
“Joe was very reserved and unassuming, but he had a sharp sense of humor and was a great guy,” Ms Di Liello said.
He retired in 2016.
Mr. Acieri was a lover of books, music and cinema, and studied the work of philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Friedrich Nietzsche.
Mr. Arcieri “has written two articles on philosophical topics which have recently received copyright from the US Copyright Office,” his daughter wrote in the profile.
“He was really a walking encyclopedia of knowledge who knew a little bit of everything and could talk about anything,” Ms Perschy said in a phone interview.
“Joe could talk about a lot of different topics and could pull together a lot of different conversations,” Mr. Twist said.
The morning sun
Get your morning news delivered to your email inbox. Get all the best news and sports from baltimoresun.com.
Mr. Arcieri stressed the importance for his daughter to write well and expand her vocabulary by learning esoteric words.
“He was a wonderful conversationalist who could talk easily about current affairs and various topics, from sports and politics to movies and music,” his daughter wrote.
His wife, who spent 30 years at the Maryland State Office on Aging, where she was a contracts administrator, also retired in 2016.
The couple enjoyed working out at the Towson Y, visiting friends in New England and spending summer vacations at Lake George in New York.
Mr. Arcieri was a communicant of St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Rodgers Forge and was an active member of the Sons of Italy.
A wake will be held for family and friends from 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home on York and Overbrook Roads in Rodgers Forge. Plans for a funeral service to be held at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens are incomplete.
Besides his wife of 45 years and daughter, Mr. Arcieri is survived by another daughter, Alice Arcieri Bonner of Ellicott City; one sister, Joan Kravsow of Rocky Hill, Connecticut; four grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.