Joesph Haggerty 82 of Absecon, NJ
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Joe died peacefully on November 18th under hospice care. He was born on September 4, 1937 before there were many services for the disabled. He was profoundly hearing impaired since birth and was raised by nuns until being admitted to the Woodbine “Colony”. The residents, all male, lived in 120 bed dormitories, staffed by few employees. The most capable cared for those who were profoundly handicapped. Joe worked in the carpenter shop. As he had no hearing aides, and there was no formal education provided, he learned only to write his name. He met his friend Judy in 1969, when she was the only social worker for the 1200 residents. She and her first husband, Ronnie Holtz, invited Joe and his much older friend Gilbert to live with them and their son George. Joe received hearing aides and speech therapy, and started to learn to read. He enjoyed fishing, playing volley ball, and especially the family dogs. After Judy and Ronnie divorced, Joe and Gilbert moved to a boarding home, and Gilbert later to a nursing home. Joe lived at the same place for years. He was treated like family, helping as he had in the past and taking vacations as well. Although Judy visited as much as she could, she again became very involved in Joe’s life when he was placed in a nursing home in Cumberland County. He still wanted to learn to read. In search of an age appropriate book at the library, Danette, who worked there, showed him “What’s Wrong Buddy”. She had illustrated the text, written by her sister, with pictures of her chihuahua. Joe and Buddy (and Danette) became friends. When Joe was transferred to Preferred Care in Absecon, his life expanded even more. The staff, especially Denise, Elizabeth, Nimfa, Marisol, Joe, Susan and Jennifer. loved him a great deal and the medical care was excellent. Vicki, the Patient Care Coordinator at Hearing Life, was a pleasant addition as well. His friend Victor took him out to lunch and to the movies to watch action adventures. Laura, another friend, and Judy took him to movies about animals and to the board walk where Bob, Amber, Carly and Pat enjoyed talking with him. Joe was always appreciative and kind. He is survived by Judy Holtz Casagrande, George Holtz and family (California) , and all of the people who loved him and will miss his beautiful spirit. A memorial service and luncheon are being planned.