Joseph F. Filipowski
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Joseph F. Filipowski 73, died June 8, 2020 at home. He was born in Norfolk to the late Adam F. and Regina Moran Filipowski. He was predeceased by his sister Mary Filipowski, sister in law Barbara Sachon and brother in law Thomas Dunn Jr. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 50 years Patricia Bell Filipowski, his daughter Jessica Filipowski Egerton and her husband Todd. Grandchildren Evan and Anna. Brother David Filipowski (Maureen), sisters Catherine Filipowski and Regina McPherson (Steve). Sister in law Winifred Dunn. Nephews Michael Dunn, Thomas Dunn III (Rosa), Michael Sachon (Missy), Peter Sachon (Katrina), and Adam Lenda (Kristiina). Niece Christine Squire (Neil). Great nieces Nicole Miltier, Rachel Rudd (Michael), Willow Sachon and Kiera Sachon. Great nephews Shawn Dunn, Cortland Sachon, Beckham Sachon and Anakin Sachon. Great great niece Mia Rudd. Many cousins and friends.

Joe graduated from Princess Anne High. He pursued an education in American and European history at Old Dominion College before embarking on a career in heavy construction industry in 1969. Combining a fascination for research and academic pursuits with a respect for traditional building skills enabled him to teach woodworking, boatbuilding and lofting at the Norfolk School of Boatbuilding. Some mechanical aptitude and an appetite for adventure led him to the United States Merchant Marine service in the mid ‘70s. In 1980 he went to work with Norfolk Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Corporation as a first class rigger. He worked his way into production engineering management at NS&DD Co. and got his ‘white hat' in 1983. In 1985 he and his partner Jon Solomon started Decking Design. In December of 1985 they were awarded a contract to replace the teak decks on the USS Iowa, BB 61. He ran Decking Design successfully as a shipboard marine flooring and decking firm through to 1993. He worked with 35 full-time tradesmen and mechanics serving naval and commercial ships up and down the East Coast of the United States and in Europe. For the next twenty years, he continued to work as an independent boat builder, artisan craftsman and instructor. During that time he worked with the education department of the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia as an interpreter and historical character actor producing daily one-man shows. Following the Mariner's Museum he worked as senior interpreter at First Landing Foundation at Cape Henry, Virginia. His work as a character actor led to his being hired to portray a wealthy New York banker in the two episode historical documentary, "Clear the Way", based on a life of the Irish-American Civil War General Thomas Francis Meagher. The documentary film was shot in and around historic Hagerstown, Maryland by Tile Films, Ltd., of Dublin, Ireland in conjunction with the Smithsonian Museum and the National Geographic Society. Following "Clear the Way", Mr. Filipowski continued to work in film and theater projects. He has appeared in, "A Witch in Time", and "Bon Voyage" by John Graves Warner and as a radical Republican representative in Stephen Spielberg's "Lincoln". He worked as a part time history instructor for Old Dominion University's Institute for Learning in Retirement program, (ILR). Joe's last project was developing Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop in partnership with Tom Brandle using the ‘teaching with small boats' program. He often said it was the most important and rewarding job of his life.

He was also a passionate worker for social, political and environmental justice.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to TWBW in his name. A celebration of his life will take place when large gatherings can happen safely.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Virginian-Pilot on Jun. 14, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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28 entries
July 7, 2020
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Destiny Trower
Acquaintance
July 1, 2020
Joe was a treasure and I am fortunate to know him. He called me a "troublemaker" every time I saw him and I was greatly complimented. We were together on several bus trips to DC for peace marches. Riders were often treated to recitations of great speeches, nautical stories, etc. We were spell bound. I cannot remember a visit where he did not mention his wife and grand children. I know they miss him. We all do.
CONNIE JEAN HANNAH
Friend
June 27, 2020
A good a man as anyone could know. I knew him from childhood and was becoming closer to him in our old age. His passing has left a void in my life as I am sure it has with all who knew and loved him.
Dennis Jones
Friend
June 25, 2020
Joe was such a warm and gregarious guy, and one hell of a storyteller. I worked with him at the Mariners Museum, and every conversation with Joe was a real hoot. I hope that his loved ones can find comfort in the joy that he spread. Fair winds, old salt.
Josh Graml
Coworker
June 21, 2020
Joe you are an amazing man, so caring, so respectful , so talented and so eloquent. You always respected my French background. You always share with me your outstanding work as an educator. I loved especially your work as Racconteur and your beautiful performance of Dylan Thomas A Childs Christmas in Wales. And you taught so many African Americans how to build boats! And you came to the Lydia roper home one day to recite poetry of seafaring themes! As an enthusiastic volunteer. Merci mon camarade! Merci! Gracias! Grazie!
Christine Hoppe
Friend
June 18, 2020
What a great man, master craftsmen, and engaging storyteller. He was a fantastic role model in my teenage years and I still have fond memories of working in his shop, taking trips to the Wooden Boat Show in Beaufort, and riding in the back of his pickup truck on the way home from different jobs. He remained a strong advocate for social justice and proved that one is happiest when they follow their try calling. Rest In Peace, Joe.
Dan Pellegrino
Friend
June 18, 2020
I worked for Mr. Filipowski and his wife for about 6mos. He was one of the most wise souls you could ever meet. Seemed like no matter the topic, he knew everything about it. His sense of humor was out of this world! One of the things I will remember the most about Joe is how he persevered through the traumatic injuries he suffered to his neck! Nothing could stop this man and he was an absolute powerhouse when it came to carpentry as well as boat building! To his wife Mrs. Patricia , if you end up reading this, my phone number is 804-998-0580 please give me a call! I would love to keep in touch! Peace and Blessings
Greg Wegener
Friend
June 17, 2020
Many condolences to the family. Mr. Joe was a very special part of my children's lives during their time with him at the TWBW. He bonded with my daughter Talon over many discussions about her dream of acting. He recommended books and plays for her to further her education . He was always the first to say hi to her each and every class. Even though we did not know him as well as others, he made a huge impact in our lives that will never be forgotten. RIP Mr. Joe. Love, Genesis, Talon and Elijah Durst
Genesis Durst
Student
June 17, 2020
I was was lucky and thankful for meeting and speaking with Joe at several Teaching with Small Boats events.
I am so sorry to hear of his passing.
Our condolences to his family and friends.
Richard Eisenberg
Friend
June 17, 2020
Joe your friendship was a great asset of my life
Dave Nichols
Friend
June 17, 2020
Craftsman and storyteller extraordinaire who will be sorely missed.
Craig Wilson
Friend
June 16, 2020
I enjoyed our times together. I'll miss our talks and your stories. I'm so grateful that we became friends. Rest in peace Captain.
Robert Landman
Friend
June 16, 2020
Cathy, Jean Ann, and David, So sorry to hear of Joeys passing. Our hearts and prayers are with you at this time. Know that he will always be with you in your cherished memories.
Cecile and Marlene Halsey
Neighbor
June 14, 2020
In memory of my brother whose hugs could console you like no one else could. You will be deeply missed in so many ways. Now when looking to the sky Ill envision you sailing the clouds forever knowing you did your best.
Jean Anne
Sister
June 14, 2020
To my brother who could console you simply by hugging you in a way No one else could. You will be missed in so many ways. When looking to the sky I will in vision you sailing in the clouds.
Love you brother.
Jean Anne
Family
June 14, 2020
David and Maureen, please accept our most heartfelt condolences. What an amazing, creative, life he led!! I know he will be missed by many. Were keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. We love you ❤
Melissa and Steve Rotay
June 14, 2020
Maureen and David, so sorry to hear about your brother. My sympathies to your family.
Mary Beth Anderson
June 14, 2020
Cathy, i am sorry to hear about your brothers passing. He was in the movie lincoln, my brother was too.
Tim Roscher
June 14, 2020
Condolences to the family. I had the pleasure of Joe's friendship while working with him and Marc Pettingil building wooden " Sweetdream" canoes at the Carpentar's Workshop in Norfolk. He was quite the character.
Bob Frick
Friend
June 14, 2020
My amount of gratitude in the world increases one thoughtful person at a time and Joseph Filliposki's kindness was a blessing.
I'm really going to miss my friend Joe.
Bessie Williams
Friend
June 14, 2020
Joe was one our favorite guys to come into the shop. His knowledge of history and politics always impressed me and I enjoyed the time spent talking with him. His energy was infectious, not even a broken back could slow him down. Our family was grateful for his presence during my daughters funeral. He was always a kind person to us. Sending love to "Miss Patricia", Jessica, Todd and his adored grandchildren, Evan and Anna.
Holly Chacon
Friend
June 14, 2020
Jolly Joe - One wonderful energetic nautical minded Person whom is a Huge Part of what Makes Tidewater/Norfolk Great ! The man will be missed - His Influence and legacy will live on = His most recent endeavor 'Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop' comes full circle for Norfolk boat builders - Ye Olde Norfolk School Of Boat Builders' within the Banana Pier Warehouses until Construction of NAUTICUS forced a move - after many Nautical Projects through the years one constant Is Joe is a true friend to one and all- and a great Thespian - Orator - Carpenter Joe's 'Nautical Adventures' will live on - - - -
capt.carl
Acquaintance
June 14, 2020
What a great guy. Way back Joe let our band practice in the warehouse. He was all in and wed always spend time just hanging with him. He was just so alive- made you feel the same. And he was married to my coworker, Pat. Of course there are no words that can really do Joe ( or anyone) justice. But I honor him and wish comfort to his family and friends. He brings a smile to my face even now. Thanks. God bless you brother.
Richard Rhodes
Friend
June 14, 2020
So sad to hear about the passing of our neighbor - Joe, we will miss our conversations about every topic under the sun, and your passion (for wooden boats and a lot of other things).
Sebastian E. Kuhn
Neighbor
June 14, 2020
Joe was a real original, in the best sense of the word. He was creative, accomplished, and fun, and any event was better when Joe was part of it. I'm proud to have known him.
Gary Ball
Friend
June 14, 2020
I met Joe through the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop. Joe was a real renaissance man who always had time for anybody and everybody. I will miss him sorely.
Richard Norman
Friend
June 14, 2020
I'm proud to have had Joe as a friend and heartbroken that he is gone. Joe did more for others than can be stated, from helping spread community gardens and inspiring others to giving life changing trade skills and pride to many underprivileged young people. Joe was always hungry for knowledge and never sopped learning. He was passionate in all that he did and was committed to justice and building a better world. He leaves a painful void in our community as well as a living legacy in Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop. He is and will be missed by many.
Al Markowitz
Friend
June 13, 2020
With tears in my eyes, what an extraordinary man.
Sheila Kerpelman
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