Joseph W. ColwellFebruary 14, 1930 ~ January 13, 2018 (age 87)
Joseph Walter Colwell was born in Wakefield, MA on February 14th, 1930 to Michael Edward Colwell and Emma Cormier Colwell. He came of age in the Great Depression/War World II and despite (or perhaps because of) the hardships of this era he demonstrated a positive attitude throughout his life. He shared stories about growing up in a poor family during those challenging times and described with a smile the adventures he had with his five brothers and sisters. A favorite story was of getting the only “material” birthday gift that he could recall from those years, a bicycle, and the joy he had riding around the neighborhood with his younger brother Paul on the handle bars and big smiles on their faces.
He was drafted into the Army and then served his country as a Marine during the Korean War. He spent most of his service with a small team of Marines assigned to the aircraft carrier, USS Orisk any, amidst thousands of sailors. As a young kid from the Boston suburbs, he was exposed to the world for the first time as the ship sailed around South America and then to the conflict in Asia. He enjoyed sharing the more positive memories of stopping in exotic ports along the way.
Joe loved sports and he was an avid and die-hard Boston sports fan. He grew up listening to Red Sox games on the radio and in later years could be found in front of the TV watching the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and golf – often flipping between channels to enjoy each game as much as possible. He had a life of colorful sports experiences – including watching Ted Williams play in Fenway Park, attending the 2ndSuper Bowl, caddying for many celebrities such as Joe Dimaggio/Yogi Berra and going with his son to game 7 of 2003 Yankees-Red Sox American League Championship.
His greatest passion though was golf -- he built a life and established a legacy through the sport. As a boy, he caddied at local courses and as a young adult worked at premier resorts on the East Coast. He started his career as a PGA pro at the famed Pinehurst – considered the cradle of American golf and most likely the origin of his love for Donald Ross designed courses and his joy in knowing countless facts about the history of golf. In the late 60’s he moved to York, Maine where he would spend the next thirty years working as the general manager and pro at the Donald Ross designed Cliff Country Club. He met his first wife, Caroline, at the club and he became the stepfather to her six kids and they had a son Lance Joseph. Over the years, Joe built a reputation as a gentleman, confidant, diplomat, teacher, organizer and most importantly a friend. He established lifelong personal relationships and played matchmaker on multiple levels – all around a sport he loved and taught others to love too. He gave lessons to hundreds of people over the years and many students still remember his tips/advice and reflect on them as they face a difficult chip shot or a long putt. He is lovingly remembered by many in York as “Joe the Pro”. Joe loved a little wager and spent many a day organizing matches with his friends betting over nickels, dimes, and with inflation, eventually a buck or two. There is no doubt he’s at a golf course in heaven right now putting together the foursomes with all his dear friends and family that have been waiting for him. He met his love Becky at the Cliff Country Club in the late 1980s and they spent the next thirty years together – golfing, playing cards, traveling, watching their grandchildren’s sports, and socializing with friends. Becky was at his side every day this past year after he suffered a massive stroke – she ensured that he was able to get in a few more holes of golf this summer and she made him comfortable while he watched lots of sports up to his very last day.
Joe is survived by his wife Becky Capone-Colwell, his sister Mary Ricucci and brother Paul Colwell, his son Lance Joseph Colwell and his stepchildren, William Coyne, Mark Hugo, Brett Hugo, Glenn Capone, Beth Capone Porell and Peter Capone, 20 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, in-laws Lyle Rousseau, Norma, Nancy and Marion Colwell, and countless cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his siblings William, Edward, and Irene as well as his stepchildren Caroline, Alan and Scott Hugo.
Calling hours will be on Wednesday evening, January 17th from 6-8 pm at Bosk Funeral Home – 85 Blossom Street, Fitchburg MA. Funeral services will be on Thursday, January 18th at 11 am in St. Christopher’s Church in York, Maine – a reception will follow in the downstairs hall of the church. A Celebration of Life, to include his “snowbird” friends, will be planned for early this summer.