Joseph V. ‘Judgie’ DiPietro, a former lawyer and regional government affairs director for Beneficial Finance Co., dies

Joseph V. “Judgie” DiPietro, a former lawyer and regional government affairs director for Beneficial Finance Co. who enjoyed building models of Maryland tidewater boats, died July 5 of heart failure at Keswick Multi-Care Center in Roland Park. The former longtime Kent Island resident was 89.

Joseph Vincent DiPietro was the son of Vincent DiPietro and Marianna Maggio DiPietro, Italian immigrants from Cefalu, a small Sicilian fishing village. Mr. DiPietro was born the fourth of five siblings in Baltimore and spent his early years with his family in a Pulaski Street home in West Baltimore.


“At a young age, he was given the nickname ‘Judgie’ by his mother, and it stuck for life,” said his brother Lawrence “Larry” DiPietro of Stevensville.

Mr. DiPietro was 7 years old when his father, who owned a South Baltimore confectionary shop, was killed during a 1940 robbery attempt.


“There were two men, and within three months, they were caught in Washington,” said a son, Salvatore J. “Sal” DiPietro of Lutherville. “They were tried, convicted, and at least one was hung. I don’t know what the disposition was regarding the other man.”

After the murder of his father, Mr. DiPietro’s mother moved her family to Pinkney Road in Northwest Baltimore.

“She took a job at L. Greif & Bro. Inc., clothing manufacturers, doing piece work, and at night, she’d bring home neckties or whatever they were making to support her children and send them to school,” his son said.

“As kids, Judgie and I — and our older brothers, Frank and Sal — worked on the Holbrook farm at the end of Amos Avenue near the Western Maryland Railway line, just south of where Reisterstown Road Plaza stands,” Mr. DiPietro’s brother said.

Mr. DiPietro’s future wife, the former Theresa Incaprera, whose parents were also immigrants from Cefalu, lived nearby on Reisterstown Road, where they owned and operated a fruit stand in the old Lafayette Market. Mr. DiPietro’s brother Larry often helped Theresa’s mother, Josie, who ran a second fruit stand in front of their home.

Mr. DiPietro was a 1952 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School and then served in the Army. In 1956, he married the former Ms. Incaprera and then opened a Tydol Flying A service station on Reisterstown Road.

In 1957, he took a job with Beneficial Finance Co. as a loan officer at its Eudowood Plaza office in Towson then became manager of the company’s Glen Burnie office. The next year, the couple moved to a home in the Villa Nova neighborhood of Baltimore County, where they lived for 40 years.

While working for Beneficial by day, Mr. DiPietro studied law at night at the University of Baltimore and passed the Maryland Bar Exam in 1963.


“Judgie took night school courses for seven years before receiving his law degree,” Mrs. DiPietro said. “He used to get home after our older boys were in bed and would wake them up to play with them for a few minutes before going to bed himself. Then do it all over the next day.”

Even though he had been admitted to the bar, Mr. DiPietro chose to stay with Beneficial.

“When we were young, our father basically held one full-time and three-part time positions at one time,” said his son Salvatore, who is a principal at Diversified Insurance Industries Inc. in Hunt Valley.

“While working for Beneficial, he also owned and managed a residential real estate portfolio and maintained a small law practice operated out of our home,” he said. “And for several years, he was a clerk in the old Magistrate Court above the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Co. He had a very strong work ethic and valued productivity.”

“He also lobbied before the state legislature in Annapolis and Dover, Delaware,” said his son Salvatore.

Mr. DiPietro retired in 1998.


He loved the Chesapeake Bay and was fascinated with skipjacks, and passed that enthusiasm on to his children.

“As kids, he used to take us on weekend trips to the Eastern Shore in search of every working skipjack to be found,” said another son, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Michael A. DiPietro of Roland Park. “He was enamored with the craftsmanship of those remaining boatbuilders we met in the late 1960s. And we were probably the only family in northwest Baltimore County that had a bay workboat as a recreational watercraft.”

In 1987, Mr. DiPietro constructed a home with the help of his sons and brothers on Cox Creek in the Kent Island village of Chester. The couple moved there permanently in 1997.

“We basically did all the work on that house, other than a few skilled trades,” said another son, Christopher V. DiPietro, also of Roland Park and president of CDi Consulting, an Annapolis-based lobbying firm.

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A Republican, the elder Mr. DiPietro immersed himself in Queen Anne’s County politics and led a grassroots voter registration drive throughout the county; for his efforts, he was named Man of the Year in 2002 by the state Republican Party. He was elected that same year as an orphan’s court judge, a position he held until 2018.

That year, the couple moved to the Springwell Senior Living Community in Mount Washington, not far from where they grew up.


Mr. DiPietro’s hobby was building fine, handcrafted models of Chesapeake Bay workboats, a painstaking process that required several months each. Over a 20-year period, he constructed 40, which reside in his personal collection, family members said.

“Once word of his craft became known on the Eastern Shore, he had many requests to build these boats for restaurants and collectors,” his son Christopher said.

Private graveside services were held July 8 at Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville.

In addition to his wife of 65 years, three sons and brother, Mr. DiPietro is survived by five grandchildren.

This article has been updated to correct Mr. DiPietro’s name and his son’s middle initial. The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.