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 â€˜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 â€˜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 â€˜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.
Published in The Virginian-Pilot on Jun. 14, 2020.