John Cafazza

John Cafazza, 22, of Bethalto, died Friday in a car crash

John and Melissa Cafazza tragically passed away Friday when their vehicle was struck by an intoxicated driver near Fosterburg. Their 12-year-old son Dominic was also in the vehicle with them.

Melissa and John were active members in their community as coaches and supporters of local sports. Both were also parents to athletic children. Furthermore, they were active members of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church where Melissa taught aerobics for 25 years before retiring to full time teaching duties at Fitness and Fun.

Early Life and Education

Early childhood is when a child’s brain develops most rapidly. Therefore, it is essential to nurture this stage of their development emotionally, socially, and cognitively.

Furthermore, early childhood education (ECE) is an integral period in a child’s development that helps prepare them for academic success in the future. Studies show that children who have participated in an ECE program perform better academically than those without such exposure.

It is for this reason that UNESCO believes investing in early childhood care and education can be one of the most beneficial investments a nation can make. It lays the foundation for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health and strong communities – all of which are goals set out by UNESCO under their Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, investing in high-quality early childhood education contributes to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Professional Career

John was an impressive athlete during his youth. His high school coaches were impressed by his touchdown pass at quarterback for the EA-WR Oilers football team, and he played a pivotal role on Moats High’s winning basketball squad.

He was an accomplished insurance salesman for many years before retiring to spend time with his beloved wife Missy of 22 years and their 12-year old son Dominic. A true family man, he treasured spending time with his four sons and grandsons as well as his two dogs and four cats.

He was an inspiring philanthropist who dedicated himself to supporting his community in numerous ways. He served as spokesperson for both the Wood River Chamber of Commerce and Bethalto Traders association, among others, and was also a founding member of Wood River Medical Center Foundation. Tragically, on Friday night he tragically passed away due to injuries sustained in a car crash.

Achievements and Honors

John Cafazza’s contributions to local sports have been numerous and he was highly-respected among his peers. A four-year letterman in football, John earned the distinction of being named to the conference’s All-Conference team both his junior and senior years; additionally, he earned a place on the all-conference wrestling team for three consecutive years.

He was also a dedicated family man, self-described “hoarder of all things sports,” and an avid trivia buff. He and his wife Melissa “Missy” were proud parents to three sons before tragically passing away Friday night in an automobile accident that shocked their community to its core. Visitation was held from 3-8 p.m. Tuesday at Civic Memorial High School before a funeral mass will be officiated by Holy Angels Catholic Church in Wood River on Wednesday morning.

Personal Life

John Cafazza was a kind and caring individual who never stopped helping those around him. On Friday night, when his wife Melissa “Missy” Cafazza and son Dominic died tragically in an auto accident, it came as an enormous shock to everyone in Bethalto and Wood River communities.

Friends, students and classmates are remembering the trio for their profound impact on their lives and community. Missy Cafazza taught physical education at Our Lady Queen of Peace; later she worked as a real estate agent with Legacy Real Estate in Bethalto and Southeby’s Realty at Lake of the Ozarks.

John Cafazza was an inspiring coach, inspiring young athletes with his unwavering passion for sports. His enthusiasm and love of competition were contagious, and he delighted in sharing it with his boys who shared his enthusiasm as avid athletes themselves.

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