In Memory of




Obituary for J. Paul Lanza

Joseph Paul Lanza, 87, of Simsbury, died peacefully on August 12, 2023. Paul was born in Southbridge, MA on October 3, 1935, to Joseph B. Lanza and Mary McGrath Lanza, and raised in West Hartford, CT. He graduated from Hall High School in 1954 and started at St. Michael’s College. Interrupting his education to serve in the Navy on the destroyer USS John Paul Jones, Paul graduated in 1962 with a degree in American Studies. He married Susanne Katharine Haran in December 1960, and they raised five children.

Paul had a varied and interesting career. In 1963, he moved his family to Cape Cod to start a building and real estate development company. Over the years, he built over 450 residential and commercial buildings, including the John F. Kennedy Memorial in Hyannis, MA. In 1976, Paul and his family moved to Simsbury, CT, when he became Executive Director of the Professional Golfers Association of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. He was also a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch and Kidder Peabody for several years before returning to construction and real estate development. In retirement, he founded Cottage Furniture, which specialized in American Shaker and nautically inspired furniture. Paul was proud of the fact that the sea chests he built were often given as commemorative gifts to naval officers and that they were in each of the 50 states and eight foreign countries.

Committed to public service, Paul was nominated as a White House Fellow, and served as an advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Housing on usage of all-American housing materials in domestic and foreign markets. Paul served on the Barnstable (MA) School Building Committee, the Osterville Free Library Board of Trustees, and the Simsbury Building, Design Review, and Historic District Committees. He also volunteered for the Simsbury Food Bank. A lifelong golfer, Paul passed on his love of the game to his children and grandchildren.

In addition to his wife of 62 years, Paul leaves their children, Michael (Terry) of Newport, RI, and children, Emily Al-Humaidhi (Yousef), John and Tess Lanza, and Kai Sadler; Joseph (Karen McKenna) of Duxbury, MA, and children, Henry and Juliet; Katharine Wade (Michael) of Simsbury, CT, and children, Daniel, Abigail, and Samuel; Matthew (Tracy) of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and children, Moss Bemis (Meg), Katherine LoPalo (Michael), Noah and Elizabeth Lanza; Sara Lanza Hickman (James) of Piedmont, CA, and children, Aidan, Dylan, and Lucia; and a great grandson, Matthew LoPalo. He also leaves his sister, Kathleen Lanza O’Malley of Hull, MA.

Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, August 16th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Vincent Funeral Home, 880 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 AM on Thursday, August 17th at St. Mary’s Church, 942 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in his memory to The First Tee of Connecticut, 55 Golf Club Road, Cromwell, CT 06146, . Please visit Paul’s “Book of Memories” at for online tributes.