Community paying its respects to Joe Lemetti today

Joe Lemetti, who passed away last week
Joe Lemetti, who passed away last week

The Memorial Mass for popular Camelon businessman Joe Lemetti will be held in St Francis Xaviers RC Church at 10am today (Thursday) and followed by an interment at Camelon Cemetery.

Joe, the well respected owner of the Lemetti’s fish and chip bar in the village’s Main Street for over 28 years, died at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert a week ago.

He was 69 and had suffered ill-health for a number of years.

The father of two from Sunnyside Street was the third generation of the family to run the fast food eatery famous for its fish suppers.

He took over with his younger brother, Michael, when their dad, Joe Senior, retired in 1988.

Their grandfather, Luigi Lemetti from Tuscany, opened the shop in 1895 and it soon became one part of an empire that included a newsagents, a cafe and hairdressing salon.

Luigi and his wife, Madalena, had five children, John, Alfred, Joseph, Dora and Rena, and when they grew up they were all involved in Lemetti businesses.

But it was their Camelon interests that made the Lemetti family a household name in Falkirk.

Joe senior and his wife, Emilia, raised their three children, Joe junior, Irene and Michael in the village, and it was no surprise when Joe and Michael followed in the footsteps of their dad and grandad and took over the running of the fish and chip bar.

As well as being a busy businessman, Joe junior quickly became actively involved in community affairs.

He served as a community councillor for over a quarter of a century and was a tireless member of the Mariner’s Day Committee for the same length of time and its most distinguished president.

Joe also served as a Labour member for Falkirk South on Falkirk Council between 2007 and 2012, another responsibility he took very seriously.

On the news of his death last Thursday, trubutes were paid on behalf of colleagues and rivals in the town hall.

Councillor David Alexander, leader of the opposition SNP Group when Joe was elected, said: “I got to know Joe well and can say he was a decent man who will be missed.

“He always had the interests of the Camelon community at heart and never allowed party politics to get in the way of representing the people he was elected to serve. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”

Councillor Craig Martin, leader of the current Labour-led administration, said: “Joe was one of the nicest and most accomodating men you could meet, a true Mariner. As a Labour councillor he was tireless in his efforts to help his constituents, always contributed at meetings and was a very active team player. I always had a lot of respect for Joe and the work he did for Camelon.”

Yesterday (Wednesday) Joe’s sister, Irene Vannucci, said: “He had the Lemetti work ethic which had achieved so much success for the family over the years. As a community councillor and Falkirk councillor my brother always tried to do his best for the people of Camelon.

“It’s nice to hear him being described as a ‘well liked and respected businessman’ because we know everything he did was to try and make a difference for everybody.”

The Camelon community plan to mark Joe Lemetti’s contribution to the village by establishing a memorial in his name.

Irene said: “We have been told there is a proposal to place a bench somewhere in Camelon and we think that would be a very nice gesture indeed. It would certainly be something that would be very much appreciated by the family and something we would like to get involved with in the weeks ahead.”

Joe Lemetti is survived by his wife, Janet, daughters Romana and Alaina and grandchildren Ryan, Nico and Cole.

The fish and chip shop, now owned by Gino and Gloria Notarangelo, will remain closed until 4pm as a mark of respect.