Joe LaCreta “Big Joe”

Joe LaCreta “Big Joe” passed away on June 30th. Joe was born in Somerville, 1934 and moved to Wilmington with his immediate family and later moved to Reading where he resided until he died. Joe lived a pretty full life, he grew up on the family farm and after attending WilmingtonHigh School he joined the Marines, and fought in Korea. Joe was a dedicated soldier an excellent marksman and sharp shooter. After being honorably discharged, Joe was called upon to work as a body guard for many including Robert “Bobby” Kennedy. Joe became a policeman for the town of Wilmington and also was active in Professional wrestling. Known as “Big Joe LaCreta” His sparing partner was the late Killer Kowalski “the claw”. Wresting open many doors for Joe including television and movies. His television commercial credits include Pepsi and Tidy Bowl and acting roles as a bounty hunter in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 “Jaws”, an arresting office in the 1973 film “The Last Detail” with Jack Nicholson and Randy Quade, he was also in the 1973 crime film “The Friends of Eddie Coyle”, “A Small Circle of Friends”, “The Fuzz” and the 1972 Television Series “Banacek” starring George Peppard. Joe owned and operated many pizza and subs shops but his pride and joy was “Big Joes” at the train station in WilmingtonCenter. He not only made the best pizza and subs in town but he was also a major source of entertainment and a friend to all. He could get you laughing no matter what was going on in your life, and would serve you some of his homemade wine from the back room, he’d play his organ for your and bust your chops at the same time. He could certainly snap you out of what ever mood you were in. His favorite thing to do was playing golf at Cedar Glen in Saugus with the guys he had A lot of laughs and a lot of good golf. He also loved to cook, and took great pride in his vegetable garden each year along with his flowers and herbs. Joe was also musically incline and would love to entertain you while playing drums, harmonica and organ. He was a gifted guy with lots of personality, a colorful character, survived by his longtime girlfriend Barbara Smith many family and friends. He will be greatly missed.


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35 Condolences

  1. JOHN PINO on July 20, 2013 at 5:40 pm


  2. Michael Fioretti on July 26, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    God Bless you and thanks for the “subs”.

  3. Warren Leathers on July 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks for all the laughs and great lunches Joe. Going to your sub shop was always the highlight of my day. Rest in peace my friend.

  4. Susan Gilbert Sexton on July 26, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Joe was such as great guy. Loved his pizza! You will be missed by many! Peace.

  5. Art Laurie on July 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks for the wine and the memories, Joe. RIP

  6. Mary Barron on July 28, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I have lived away from Wilmington for the last 33 years, every time I came home it was always a must to hit Big Joe’s for a sub. I even brought my kids up to know Big Joe. We were all very sadden by the news of Joe’s passing.
    Rest in Peace, you will be missed.

  7. MSgt Wayne Griggs on August 18, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Semper Fi Joe. You are a true American hero and will be missed by many.

  8. Cindy Lynch Giles Wolters on September 28, 2013 at 1:32 am

    I met Joe when he opened his first sub shop on Rt38 in 1961. 50 years of great food and lots of laughs . Big Joe will always live in my heart. Salute my friend.

  9. Paul F. on October 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Joe, you were a ton of laughs! You helped me thru some miserable times, always making me laugh and feel just a bit better when I left. We could talk for hours! I’ll never forget you, my friend. How appreciative you were for a simple, heartfelt gesture, I’ll always remember. I’ll raise my wine glass tonight to you.. Salute!

  10. Mike McNamara on April 27, 2014 at 1:51 am

    Last time I saw you Joe I was with my dad – Mack – of McNamara Tire. I was in with friends Bob More and Jay Fleming. You recognized my dad and you two townies talked about the town in the good ole days. Great laughs; great subs – thanks for the memories and “Lunch Theater” there at Big Joe’s.

  11. Robert Plowman on November 29, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Was not able to get down to the store because of an injury, but did get to talk too Joe just a few weeks before. It killed me when I found out, we had some great talk’s especially about war stories. Miss you Joe, will see you again !

  12. Ryan McVey on December 16, 2015 at 6:31 am

    Joe, amazing subs great laughs. Thank you for good memories.

  13. Tommy Baxter on December 26, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    So sorry to have heard this may you RIP Always a good friend

  14. Lisa Dahlquist on June 3, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Fond memories of “Big Joes” and “Trains and Games” as a kid.. Defiantly the best subs around. He will be missed by many~

  15. Timothy bevis on June 3, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Grew up at big Joe’s always made you laugh as soon as u walked into the sub shop great guy rip big joe

  16. Barbie Morse on June 3, 2016 at 1:31 am

    Grew up loving your Pizza. You were the best! Me and my husband and Children frequented Big Joe’s often. You will be missed.

  17. Sherri Adams Hosmer on June 3, 2016 at 1:49 am

    RIP Joe! The memories will always be there for me. Good to know there will be great pizza and subs in Heaven!

  18. Jim DuBois on June 3, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Great food, great guy R.I.P.

  19. Shirley Brabant-Adams on June 3, 2016 at 2:23 am

    May you rest in peace Big Joe. Thanks for many uears of subs, pizza and great memories.

  20. Rose (Polvere) Chase on June 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Joe you were one of the best. You will be greatly missed. Most of all we will miss your subs. God Bless and keep you.

  21. Tina Eaton on June 3, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Remember always going to big Joe’s with my friends. You will be missed sending prayers to your family

  22. Dolly Grassia on June 3, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Rest in Peace Joe thanks for all the laughs and good stories. you will be missed.

  23. Neli on June 3, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Thanks for all the fun times and great memories Joey …

  24. Steve Gerhartz on June 4, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Joe was larger than life and anyone who was lucky enough to meet him remembers him forever. RIP Big Joe! You were a giant among us all having nothing to do with your size.

  25. Frank West on June 4, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Big Joe – what a fitting name for a guy who was bigger than life. Great food always from Wilmington’s “Cheers” but, more important, a guy who wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is and didn’t care about political correctness. I miss our many one on one conversations when there was nobody else in the shop as well as spending a chunk of Christmas Eve with several slices of Big Joes pizza and homemade wine with Big Joe in charge of entertainment. God Bless Joe and I hope we meet on the other side! Frank West Wilmington MA

  26. RUTH MELVIN GRAVELL on June 8, 2016 at 3:17 am


  27. David Jelley on August 29, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    God bless my friend.Miss or conversations and insults we gave each other.My wife misses the notes you use to write on her miss your meat pies that we always got for new years

  28. Robert Plowman on July 26, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Joe because of my accident, I never got to see you again, our last phone conversation , Andrea put you on the phone, I felt guilty not being there, but she bought home one of your meatball subs, buddy I think of it and can taste it . We had some great laughs and better conversations. We’ll meet again and when we do, we’ll tear the roof off, miss you dear friend, SEMPER FI

  29. Kathleen Murray on October 15, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Dear Joe Marty and I had so many great subs and pizza at your place at the train station. But what we will miss the most is you and your array of stories and jokes, we always left with an additional order of food to take home to Andrea and my Uncle Johnny.
    God Bless you, you are definitely going to be missed so much. Rip Love Kathy Murray

  30. spencer koffman on November 27, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    I saw Big Joe wrestle at the Boston Gardens many decades ago. RIP Joe.

  31. James L on August 21, 2019 at 8:20 am

    I just had a thought of big joe and his sub shop and went online to see if it was still open. I was really sad to hear of his passing. I loved stopping in before getting on the train and his comedy act. I couldn’t believe how outlandish and funny he was. I miss the Italian subs and his meat pie.

  32. Joe Zagarella on January 21, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Joe, you where most definitely a live wire. Rest In Peace….

  33. Geoffrey Christopher on May 29, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    I introduced Joe to Angelo Savoldi and shortly after Joe Became a an wrestler. We went to White Plains NJ when Arnold Skaalands wife passed away. He was a good friend and I hope I will see him in Heaven.
    God bless you,
    Your friend Jeff Christopher

  34. Gordon campbell on October 3, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    Big Joe I miss you so much and cherish our time hanging at your house and golfing and drinking wine at big Joe’s, u never held back the insults and jokes calling me morgan Fairchild…lol… you wrestled with killa Kowalski, come on now….lol ur very much missed my good friend.

  35. Andy Jacobs on February 18, 2023 at 2:25 pm

    When I worked for Ametek Aerospace in college. Big Joe would let me sit in his store while I waited for the train home. I look fondly back on those conversations and often think of him. He would smile and slide a cheese steak across the counter on those days I could not afford one, then say your company is enough payment. I miss you my friend and thank you.

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