Joseph R. Sastre, 64, of Norwich, formerly of Milford, passed away on February 15, 2021 at home surrounded by family after a commendable battle with cancer that was diagnosed last June.
Joe is survived by his highschool sweetheart and wife, Vicki (Cogswell) Sastre. They met at the ages of 14 and 16, and were married for 44 years having spent their entire adult lives together.
Joe spent his life working in public service. Starting as a teenage lifeguard on Long Island Sound, he liked to brag that it was the easiest summer job ever, because that summer, everyone sat on the beach reading Jaws, too afraid to go into the water. He went on to work for 25 years in the Milford Police Department, retiring as a Lieutenant. Much of that time was spent working in the Marine Patrol and SCUBA units, patrolling the Sound year round. He served as the Director of Milford Police Dept Training Academy, and was involved in several statewide educational programs. After 25 years, he retired and started a new career as manager of Emergency Communications and Emergency Management in Groton, CT. He became involved with both statewide emergency management and national homeland security and FEMA organizations. After his second retirement, he began teaching emergency management as an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven. When that job did not keep him busy enough, he obtained his CDL license and began driving trucks for his son-in-law’s building supply company, much to his wife’s approval as he was home way too often for her liking.
While Joe’s multiple careers spanned 44 years, and are notable for many achievements and accolades, what he was most proud of was his family. Joe is survived by his children Leigh-Anne Sastre, Joey Sastre, and Alison Dockins, all of whom he loved more than anything, and their spouses whom he considered to be his own children, Stan Bush, Anna Sastre, and John Dockins. He was CEO of Papa’s workshop, where many keepsakes were made over the years, and where his grandchildren all learned to work with power tools. He spent his free time in the yard driving his tractor, and enjoyed time boating, tubing, and fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee with his family. Joe enjoyed spending time with Vicki and the many dogs, cats, and chickens they had over the years. While he was never a big “talker”, he always knew exactly what was happening with his family, even when he did not seem to be listening. Joe was always available for advice or support to his children, and all the extended friends and tag-alongs that spent hours and days hanging out at their home while his children were growing up. However, there is nothing in life that gave Joe greater joy than becoming “Papa” to his nine grandchildren: Alexander, Grace, Elizabeth, and Andrew Bush, Aubrey, Savannah, and Carly Dockins, and Joseph (“Yo-yo) Sastre, and his unnamed sibling expected this summer. To them, Papa was their everything, he was the sun to their solar system, and his absence leaves a Papa sized hole in their hearts and lives.
In addition to his wife, children, and their families, Joe was predeceased by his parents Joe and Rose Sastre, and is survived by his siblings Rick (Charlene) Sastre, and Karen (Mike) Donovan, and many nieces and nephews who also adored “Uncle Joe."
A celebration of Joe’s life will be private and held when his family is able to be all together after COVID.
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