Alumni Stories

Joseph La Pointe

Joseph LaPointe, 81, died on Thursday, June 25th, 2009, at his home in Huguenot surrounded by his family.

Joe was born in 1928 in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. During the Great Depression, from ages 6-17, he was raised at St. John’s Residence for Boys. He made life-long friends and lasting relationships.

At 17, he joined the U.S. Navy and completed two tours of duty. He fought in World War II and the Korean War. His time in the Navy afforded him the ability to travel internationally. He enjoyed relating many stories from his time in the service.

While he was contemplating signing up for a third tour, he met his first wife, M. Teresa Murphy. They were married in 1959. Together they had seven children and were married for 40 years. She passed away in August, 2000. Joe was a family man who did everything for his family.

Joe joined the NYC Fire Department on August 27, 1960 and was assigned to the Sixth Division in the South Bronx. After that, he went to Engine 96 and then to Engine 83 in the South Bronx. After he moved his family to Staten Island, he was assigned to Ladder 82 in Staten Island. He wanted more action and was transferred to Engine 204 in Downtown Brooklyn in 1967. In 1968, he was pulled out of 204 and sent to 217(2) in Bedford Stuyvesant. Engine 217 was one of the busiest houses in the city, so a second company was formed to help combat the fires. He went back to 204 in 1972 and remained at that Company until he retired in July, 1989. He loved being on the job and always had stories to tell of the firehouse and the men who served there. Before he retired, he was awarded the golden spoon for always stirring the pot. He was part of the brotherhood. His “brothers” from the job are still a big part of his life.

While being a firefighter, Joe was a sexton at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and worked at Radar Paint Company. He also painted houses.

Joe enjoyed being active and involved in the lives of his family. He umpired little league games, enjoyed swimming and playing pool volleyball with his children, and dancing with his wife. He also played volleyball at Holy Child for many years. He was given the nickname “Bert” when his children were growing up. He painted his children’s homes after they were grown and married. He was painting until he was in his late 70s. He spent time with his grandchildren, doting on them like any grandparent would. He was proud of his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed showing off their pictures and talking about them.

Joe was very involved in Holy Child Parish. He loved the Lord and served Him with his life. He was a Eucharistic Minister who brought Communion to the homebound. He made it a true celebration of love. Each person looked forward to his visit and the love and sunshine he brought with him.

In March 2006, he married Christina Niemic. He was blessed to find real love twice in his lifetime. Joe and Chris met on a bus trip. They were inseparable from the time they met. They both enjoyed dancing and took dance lessons together. Joe enjoyed traveling but had never been on a cruise. Christina introduced Joe to cruising, and he was hooked. Together they went on about a dozen cruises to many places including Hawaii, Alaska, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and Canada. They took many bus trips and traveled to Las Vegas, Florida, Memphis, and Canada. Everywhere he went, Joe ran into someone he knew. He was outgoing, friendly, and always had a warm smile. Christina gave Joe a new reason to live and breathed new life into him.

In addition to his wife Christina, Joe is survived by his brother Paul, his sister Marguerite Michalski, his sons Joseph, Stephen, John, Richard, Andrew and Michael, his daughter Michele Hare, his stepsons Vincent and Michael, his stepdaughter Christine Singer, and 23 grandchildren.

The wake was held at Scalia Funeral Home on Saturday, June 27th, and Sunday, June 28th, from 2-4, and 7-9. The burial mass was held at Holy Child Church on Monday, June 29th at 10:45 a.m. The family requests in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to St. John’s Residence for Boys, Inc., 144 Beach 111th Street, Rockaway Park, NY 11694.