NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- Longtime owner of Joe and Mimma's Italian Restaurant Giuseppe "Joe" Buffa passed away September 29 at the age of 64.

Buffa was born in Carini, Sicily, Italy. He moved to the United States in 1968 to pursue the American dream, working in Brooklyn, and eventually moving to Hampton.

Buffa, his father, and his uncle opened the first Anna's Pizza Restaurant in the Buckroe Shopping Center. He went on to open his own restaurant, Joe and Mimma's, in 1973 in the Newport Square Shopping Center in Newport News. The restaurant became a popular dining destination for many people, and Buffa moved the business to its last location on J. Clyde Morris Boulevard. It remained there until his retirement in June 2016.

His obituary celebrated his warmth:

Joe was a man who possessed a larger than life heart. His infectious smile would light up a room. He touched the lives of many with his generosity and his overwhelming love for his family and friends. Everyone who met him immediately fell in love with him and his joyful presence. His legacy will live on forever through everyone he ever touched. Joe's passing leaves us with broken hearts that will never be mended.

Buffa is survived by his wife, Pamela, his sisters, Mimma Lopiccolo (Franco), Anna Bazzani (Robert) and brother, Mario Buffa (Connie). He also is survived by his daughters, Rosaria Tania Marie Williams (Roger Langwell) and Christene Elizabeth Buffa (Daniel Rosinski), his grandchildren, Nicolas Anthony Williams, Sebastian Joseph Williams, Marcelo Gianni Rosinski and Casey Adams Rosinski. Buffa leaves behind many uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews in the United States and in Italy.

Anyone wishing to honor Buffa can make a donation in his name to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.