Joseph Pescarino died at his home in Fulton, N.Y. on March 25, 2022 from complications of prostate cancer. His death was confirmed by his husband, Ed Mintiens. Joe was 80.
He was born in Fall River on Aug. 5, 1941, to Joseph Pescarino Sr. and Mary Gonsalves. Joe attended Durfee High School and went on to study fashion and design at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and UCLA. He also studied with iconic weaver Osma Todd at Castle Hill in Truro, and later with international weavers at Barnsdall Art Center in Los Angeles.
In the early ’60s, Joe summered in Provincetown and worked for Pat Schulz and Lenore Ross at the Plain & Fancy as a waiter. Later that decade, he returned to the Cape to work for the couple in the kitchen. Joe also worked for Basil Santos at Howard Johnson’s and for the ever-popular Mae Bush at Mae’s MidEast. A natural dancer, Joe often unwound after work at Piggy’s or the Back Room with friends Baxter and Billy Seeley.
While living in Greenwich Village, Joe met Ed, the love of his life. When Joe died, they were about to celebrate their 53rd anniversary of being a couple and 11th anniversary of their wedding.
With their beloved Yorkie Schmatah, they moved to Los Angeles in the mid-’70s, where Joe was employed at Madonna Man, the famed Italian men’s boutique in Beverly Hills. Joe went on buying trips to Italy, where he met the Versaces, the Armanis, Nino Cerutti, and other leading designers, stylists, and models who inspired him. With his innate, unerring sense of style, influenced by Lady Mendl’s dictum — suitability, simplicity, and proportion — Joe branched out to become a photo stylist who was much in demand for film, editorial, and catalogue work.
Among Joe’s lifelong passions were animals, especially dogs. He leaves O’Keeffe and Rocco. He was also a talented cook and baker. Joe dried flowers and herbs that he harvested from Ed’s gardens and created extravagant wreaths, which were sold at the famed farmers market in L.A. He also made jams and jellies, and his lemon curd and Concord grape jam were renowned.
Joe’s other love was Italy. “Pino,” as he was called by his Italian friends, fell in love with Rome and its neighborhoods, fascinated by the art, architecture, cuisine, and people.
Joe and Ed moved to upstate New York in the mid-’90s, from which Joe commuted to Manhattan to continue styling. After retiring, his love of gardening and knowledge of food and cuisines led him to work in the greenhouse and retail stand at Barber’s Farm in Middleburgh.
Joe is survived by his husband, Ed; his brother-in-law, Bill Mintiens, and wife Janice; his nephew, Christian Mintiens, and wife Rebecca; and his niece, Nicole Mintiens, and husband Oli Gardner.
Those who wish to honor Joe’s life can make a donation to the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley. There will be no funeral; Joe was cremated and his ashes will be scattered on Cape Cod and in Rome. Details of a memorial service will be announced.