Joseph Franklin Le Compte, 80, of Rahway, passed away Sunday, August 13, 2023, at Center for Hope Hospice in Scotch Plains. Born on September 16, 1942, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, he resided in Moorestown and later Watchung, NJ, during his youth.
Joe graduated from Watchung Hills Regional High School, where he was active in wrestling and hockey, which he continued at Lafayette College. After graduating from Lafayette, he proudly served his country with the United States Navy on the USS Moravia. He was honorably discharged and later attended Newark College of Engineering (NJIT), receiving a degree in mechanical engineering. He was an accomplished engineer specializing in wastewater management and was employed at Middlesex County Utilities Authority up until his retirement in 2008.
Joe loved sailing. No matter the weather, he was “down the boat” almost daily. Said boat, a CAL25 named “Tissisit,” was moored at the Ocean Gate Yacht Basin in Bayville for years before he moved on to the Raritan Yacht Club in Perth Amboy. He leaves a regatta of dear friends whom he’d regale with stories over a beer after a day of sailing … or work on a boat or some wild project such as the “Tiki Bar,” which was loved by many as a hangout at RYC. Joe had a lot of stories, boundless curiosity, and a love for adventure, which led him to Alaska and South America for fun, Asia for work, and Europe for singing.
Speaking of singing, one thing you would always hear from Sailor Joe, as he was affectionately nicknamed, was singing. He’d sing to his shipmates at sea when in the Navy. He’d sing to his grandkids. He’d tell everyone to join him at his next event with Vocal Synergy in Oldwick. He simply loved singing and music. Sailor Joe was a founding member of Vocal Synergy, whom we consider family. He was also a member of the Celebration Singers and Rahway Valley Jerseyaires, singing standards, contemporary and barbershop tunes. Singing brought him amazing opportunities; he toured Italy and the UK and most recently sang at Carnegie Hall. It was the highlight of his life and brought him joy, even in his final hours.
An engineer by profession, he was a tinkerer, which covered every facet of his life. When his health and mobility began to deteriorate from the effects of ALS, he crafted mechanisms to help lift his arms. Sailor Joe was determined to live his life fully and on his terms.
Joe is predeceased by his parents, Franklin Le Compte and Elizabeth Le Compte (Swinton). He is survived by his sisters, Elizabeth, Ellen, and Sara; his former wife, Merle Le Compte; his son, Kevin Le Compte, and daughter Alison Kavchok and her husband Ronald; and grandchildren, Mathew and Tamsin Kavchok.
He is also survived by countless friends – and it took a big person to be a friend of Sailor Joe. We want to extend our love, sympathy, and gratitude to his dear friends Joan “Joaner” Garrett, Christian and Tracey Hunter, Paul Jedziniak, and Tony Wyczesany. And, especially, Lynn Parker Love. Lynn took care of Joe; she loved him and cared for him and, in turn, has helped us.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, August 20th, 2023, from 2-6 p.m. at Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, NJ. Sailor Joe will be laid to rest at Hazelwood Cemetery in Colonia.