Joseph C. Doucette, steadfast husband and father of four, finished his race on this earth on June 28, 2019, at the age of 72.
Born in Montpelier, Vt., Joe and beloved wife Becca retired to Hindsville, where they continued a tradition impacting their community for good.
To describe who Joe is to his friends and family is like attempting to compress the earth’s atmosphere into the size of a baseball. Rugged, shrewd and an overall goof, Joe was a tell-it-like-it-is, battle-hardened, deliberate, “my way or the highway,” make-you-laugh-till-you-fold kind of man. He offered the shirt off his back if he believed in you, and you knew if Joe backed your corner, victory was short at hand. When he spoke, we listened, for we knew we were in the presence of a giant whom few men in three lifetimes were unlikely to acquaint.
Joe never gave out praise to make anyone “feel good about themselves.” If he gave you any compliment at all, it was as though you found a drop of water in the middle of the Sahara, and you knew you earned it. His aim was to be that hardball you needed, so that he could draw out the best of you. “The only difference between a pat on the back and a slap in the rear is the width of your hand.”
Though Joe could be stern, he was never short of a good gag, prank, joke or poke. He set out to have a good laugh daily. Even if you were the butt of the joke, you couldn’t help but respond with hilarity to his infectious smile and full body laugh. When you saw that grin on his face, with his cheeks turning red, holding back laughter as he snuck up on someone with firecrackers, you knew whatever troubles you had were going to work out.
Two things he did not joke about or accept jokes about were Jesus Christ and his military service. Joe volunteered into the U.S. Army at the sprightly age of 17 and survived two tours of Vietnam. He knew Jesus rescued him from the dominion of darkness and into God’s glorious light.
Joe was proud of his accomplishments, and rightfully so. Through his life, odds seemed to be continuously stacked against him. He was a self-taught man with an eighth-grade education who could be best described as relentless in his pursuits. His work ethic was second to none, and no man beside him could out work him at any task. Joe’s career was broad, but he found his most rewarding positions at GE and Teknor Apex Co., where he forged lifetime friendships and incredibly successful companies. He had a gift of just knowing how things would work out or fit together even before schematics were drawn up.
Joe found solace not only in his work, but also in his love of racing and competing at basically anything. His competitive spirit was fulfilled with the men on the race team. Always an adventure, the stories are too vast, and probably too inappropriate, to expound upon. With hands always at toil, Joe never rolled up his sleeves to go to work; they were already rolled up. “You don’t have to win, and you don’t have to be the best, but you better work the hardest”.
Above all, Joe adored his Love, Rebecca. He would say she rescued him from demons, and she would say he did the same. Married for 23 adventuresome years, to them it was the best life they could have ever dreamed of. It’s that rare type of love. Becca seemed to tame a beast that most thought untamable.
The salty language and stoic mannerisms often led people to describe Joe as a jackhole. However, if that were the only way one could describe Joe, it would be false. That was simply lesson one: no more patty slappin’. Lesson two: Your “attaboys” should outweigh your “oschetts.” “Stand up straight. Pick your head up. Don’t be ashamed just because you screwed it up ... again.” After a lengthy explanation of any suckery on your part, Joe then would give the most enthusiastic pep talks of the two positions you might attain in life: “I’ll give you the tools to be the absolute best that you can be. You are going to have to do the work and get yourself there. It’s like a fork in the road; you can be the king of the mountain, or more worthless than blimblums on a boar hog.”
To many of us, Joe was one of the greatest teachers we ever had. He was a professor, of sorts, in the school of grit and college of greatness. An old quote comes to mind from Henry Adams: “A teacher effects eternity, you never can tell when his influence stops.” So as we press on in this life, we will share the lessons learned from this giant of a man. And that impact he has had on each of us will reverberate through the ages until we rejoice together on the other side of eternity.
A celebration of life will be held at the family home from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, July 5, 2019.