Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Angelo “AJ” Lapanna III, age 48, a lifelong resident of Middleborough, passed away on Sunday, October 1st, surrounded by family. He was born on May 19th, 1975, to Angelo and Patricia Lapanna. He graduated from Middleborough High School in 1993 where he played football.
AJ enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1992. After attending Basic Training and 95B Advanced Individual Training, AJ served with the 972nd Military Police Company out of Melrose, MA and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001. AJ became a “Green Beret” (U.S. Army Special Forces) and a Special Forces Communications Sergeant. He later qualified as a Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller (SOTAC), earning the call sign “Anarchy,” and became a Special Forces Team Sergeant prior to his retirement.
Throughout his career, his military education included Airborne Course, Special Forces Qualification Course, Advanced Arabic Language Training, Army Special Operation Techniques, and SOTAC.
In his 23 years of service, AJ served three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and multiple missions around the world. AJ received two Bronze Star Medals, Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device and Bronze Hourglass, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbons, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Special Forces Tab.
In July 2001, AJ was hired as a Patrol Officer with the Middleborough Police Department. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2019, and to the rank of Lieutenant in August 2023. He was assigned as the Department’s Firearms Instructor and Defense Tactics Instructor, as well as coordinated the Middleborough Police Department Citizens Police Academy. He served with Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLEC) SWAT as the Operations Commander and was a Co-Coordinator for the SEMLEC Critical Incident Stress Management team helping other police officers navigate the emotional aftermath of a traumatic event. AJ also served as an Instructor for the Massachusetts Police Training Committee, sharing his professionalism and expertise with officers from around the state.
He was a loving father who enjoyed spending time with his children and family. He coached his son Peyton’s Little League baseball team, as well as varsity hockey. He was an avid bowhunter and saltwater fisherman and enjoyed yoga and helping his wife build her business.
AJ is survived by his wife, Traci; children, Peyton J. Lapanna, Haley Brack, and Casandra Kennedy; parents, Angelo J. Lapanna II and Patricia Lapanna; sister, Jodi (David) Lapanna Scroggins and family; brother-in-law, Alan (Jennifer) Cunningham and family; brother-in-law, Jason (Angela) Cunningham and family; and father-in-law, Alan Cunningham. AJ was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Janice A. Cunningham.
Public walkthrough will be held on Thursday, October 12th from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at MeetingHouse Church, located at 3 Nickerson Ave. in Middleborough.
Services will be held on Thursday, October 12th at 11 a.m. Space is limited and members of the community who wish to view the services can do so in the Middleborough Town Hall Ballroom. Services can also be watched on the MeetingHouse Church YouTube Live page at youtube.com/@MeetingHouseChurch/streams. Middleborough Community Cable Access Media will broadcast the services live online at mccam.tv, and on Comcast channels 9 or 26 and Verizon channels 32 or 34.
Interment will be at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following organizations: Thin Blue Ride at thinblueride.org, the Boulder Crest Foundation at bouldercrest.org, and the Green Beret Foundation at greenberetfoundation.org.