Joseph Sanchez, designer, preservationist


Joseph Danny Sanchez, 48, passed away suddenly on July 9, 2020.

He was born in Denver, Colorado to Sarah Christine and raised in his early years by his devoted loving grandmother Esther Hidalgo. In his youth, Sanchez brought love and light to his family in Denver: Loretta, Holly and Heather.

In 1994, he hopped on an Amtrak train to visit his friends Holly and Michael in Philadelphia and he never turned back. It was a trip that changed the trajectory of his life. In three days’ time, he met his life partner of 25 years, Joanne Colino, and her daughter, Holly Colino. The three of them, along with Michael Zuniga, created a family filled with much laughter, love and joie de la vie.

Joseph earned his BA in Textile Design from Philadelphia University (now Jefferson University) and spent an additional year studying at Parsons New School for Design.

His friends described him as an “old soul brought onto this earth to contribute beauty and art everywhere.” In his immense creativity, Joe handcrafted ornaments, quilts, paper filigree, needlepoint, beadwork, wreaths, floral arrangements- anything and everything. Each Christmas for Joanne, he transformed their home into a scene out of the movies or the glossy pages of Martha Stewart.

Joseph published two books. "Print Design," which showcases his love of motif, pattern and repetition as seen in art and architecture and “The Gothic Cottage," a detailed architectural book of the 1855 Victorian single he shared with Joanne. Joseph’s passions included history (especially that of Holocaust survivors), rescue dogs, the songs of Linda Ronstadt, Judy Garland and Mama Cass (to name a few), the movies of John Hughes, the lavish luxuries of Marie Antoinette and Queen Elizabeth the first, and the creativity, uniqueness, nerve and talent of RuPaul's Drag Race.

His work in design and historic preservation made him a sought-after counselor in real estate. Joseph brought his talents and skills to support Joanne’s real estate clients, and the two of them developed a top-producing business unmatched in personal relationships with clients, all of whom, by settlement, called Joseph a friend.

His contributions to their company, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, and its community, are were numerous. He was a constant presence in the office, brightening the days of the staff and agents with his generous spirit and acerbic humor.  

Joseph is survived by his best friend and life partner-Joanne Colino, the woman he raised, Joanne’s daughter, Holly Colino, their two dogs, Harold and Maude, his surrogate siblings: Holly Sharpe, Heather Warren and Michael Zuniga.

Services will be private until social distancing guidelines allow for a celebration of his colorful life. Donations in his memory can be made to two organizations working in causes close to Joe’s heart: to the Attic Youth Center, serving LGBTQ+ youth, and to Philly PAWS.



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