Joseph Hector Letourneau III
Joseph Hector Letourneau III, 74, of Sanibel, FL died on November 8, 2019, at Hope Hospice House in Fort Myers, FL, after a long and valiant battle with cancer.
Joe was born on August 17, 1945 in Trenton, NJ to Joseph H. Letourneau, Jr. of Salem, MA and Lillian (Fourgere) Letourneau of Havre Boucher, Nova Scotia. He was the oldest of three children and the only boy. He grew up in Salem, MA and attended Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody, MA, where he was an all-round athlete and captain of the basketball team. He attended Norwich University in VT where he was in the Corps of Cadets, graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduation he served in the Army for two years as a First Lieutenant. After several private sector engineering jobs, he worked for the United States government, first at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, and then at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. During his D.C. area years he lived in Bowie and Annapolis, MD.
Joe was one of a kind. He was truly a happy man who found joy in each moment. He was the rock for his Letourneau family. He was brave, resilient and upbeat to the end. He brought light and much laughter into the lives of everyone he touched. He had an indomitable spirit and zest for life.
Joe’s passion in life was not his career–it was his family, his friends, and his hobbies. Always the mechanical engineer, he loved the challenge of problem solving and working with his hands to make something. He was never without some project he was working on. He pursued his passions for kayaking, sailing, hiking, biking, and pickleball (which he discovered on Sanibel in his last five years). It was all about having fun with friends and family. He had a lifelong attachment to his Fenwick High School friends, and his annual backpacking trips (47 years with the same four friends) were legendary.
His happy place was “the cabin” in Cherryfield, Maine where he spent long summers for 19 years with Darla, sharing their special place with the kids, grandkids, and many friends.
He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Darla Jo (White) Letourneau, Sanibel, FL., and two sons: Justin and wife Sandi, Lakewood Ranch, FL; and Josh and wife Jessica, Matthews, NC. He is survived by three grandchildren: Aiden, Olivia, and Ava. He is also survived by two sisters, Cecilia Kawczynski (and husband Eddie), and Carol Carter, both of Salem, MA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Lillian Letourneau.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 4 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House, located at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL. There will also be a gathering in Salem, MA at a later date for Joe’s Salem area friends and family to celebrate his life and share memories.
The family extends special thanks to Joe’s large medical care family: Advanced Prostate Cancer Institute in Charlottesville, VA; Florida Cancer Specialists of Fort Myers; Hope Hospice of Fort Myers; and Patient Advocate, Jan Manarite. They enabled him to live a longer life of quality, and also provided support, encouragement, and compassion on the 12 year journey.
Contributions to his memory may be made to Cancer ABCs at www.Cancerabcs.org or mail to 315 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (in support of Jan Manarite’s Patient Advocate work); to Hope Hospice at donate.hopehcs.org/or mail to 9470 Health Park Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908; or The Stephen Donaldson Fund at Bishop Fenwick High School, 99 Margin Street, Peabody, MA 01960.
He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends. “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”