Joseph Pecora Obituary, Death – After a protracted and challenging fight against congestive heart failure, our dear friend and neighbor went away in peace on Monday morning, November 30. Joe is a proud alumnus of Taft High School, which is located in Taft, California. After graduating from Taft High School, Joe continued his education at UCLA, where he majored in international affairs. He spent the early portion of his career in the Air Force, and at that time, he was a top-secret courier for the State Department, during which time he traveled to New Zealand, Australia, and throughout Southeast Asia.
When he returned to the United States, he began a career as a social worker in the cities of San Francisco, Contra Costa County, and Richmond. When he bought a run-down Victorian house in the vicinity of Alamo Square in San Francisco in 1979, it fundamentally altered the course of his life. The much-maligned Redevelopment Agency had the neighborhood marked for demolition; however, a crusading and close-knit fellowship of homosexual men began renovating these painted women, as they were to become known, and the area was instead classified as a renowned historic district.
Joe had found a new passion in the study of history as well as Victorian architecture and design, and as a result, he had amassed a group of friends that he maintains relationships with to this day. Joe began publishing a weekly for the recently established Alamo Square Neighborhood Association. Each issue of the newsletter detailed the extensive history of one of the houses in the neighborhood, including the building’s design and the people who lived there. As a result of his research into these homes, Joe established himself as the de facto historian of Alamo Square. He finally wrote a book titled The Storied Houses of Alamo Square in which he collated the histories he had uncovered.
Joe was also an active member of a number of other local and national organizations, such as the Victorian Alliance, the Decorative Arts Forum, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, among many others. He enjoyed hosting events in his beautifully restored home, which was filled with antiques and a warm atmosphere. The most well-known event that he hosted was an annual Christmas party that became legendary due to the fact that he displayed his immense collection of antique Christmas ornaments and other decorative treasures.
He also always boasted a Christmas tree that reached all the way to his twelve-foot ceiling and was dripping with wonderful things to see. Joe is survived by his cousin Linda and her son Dean, in addition to an infinite number of friends and admirers from all walks of life.