Joseph Navas

Joseph Navas
World Trade Center

Joseph Navas, 44, dedicated P.A. officer

Joseph Michael Navas was trained in life-saving, high-risk rescues.

A 20-year veteran police officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Mr. Navas was one of 37 Port Authority officers lost in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

"He probably died trying to save lives when the buildings collapsed," said fellow Port Authority officer Gene Dubelbeiss of Glen Rock, his best friend.

A 1985 graduate of the Port Authority Police Academy, Mr. Navas, 44 of Paramus, joined the Port Authority's Emergency Services Unit at Journal Square seven years ago. He took numerous courses in rescue diving, confined space repelling and chemical and biological counter-terrorism.

He recently helped rescue two mentally disturbed people from the George Washington Bridge, Dubelbeiss said.

"He was trained for rescue diving which he loved," said Karen, his wife of 15 years. He also loved to dive recreationally, ski, work in his garden and spend time with his wife and three children. He coached his 9-year-old son's Little League team.

"He was definitely a true family man, very devoted to his children. He was the best dad. He was a wonderful husband," his wife said.

"He worked out all the time," Mrs. Navas said. He and his fellow officers "were very into keeping themselves safe because they wanted to come home to their families."

A 1975 graduate of Paramus High School, he spent four years working as a plumber for the Port Authority before graduating from the Police Academy. After graduation, he was assigned to Newark International Airport and then to the authority's central police pool.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Navas is survived by his children Jessica, 12, Joey, 9, Justin, 3; parents, Rosemarie and Joseph Navas of Toms River; two sisters, Denise Cenicola of Lake Hopatcong and Lisa Lo Piccolo, of Saddle River; and nieces and nephews.

The family invites friends to join them tomorrow from 6-8 p.m. at Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation, W. 50 Midland Ave., Paramus. A Memorial Mass will be held 10 a.m. Saturday at the Church of the Annunciation.

A memorial fund has been established for Mr. Navas' children. Contributions may be made to the Joseph Michael Navas Memorial Fund, c/o Jeffrey A. Lovas & Co., CPA, 210 Rt. 4 East, Suite 202, Paramus, N.J. 07652.

Profile by Donna Leusner published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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