Joseph Andrews, a lifelong Provincetown resident, died January 28th at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, on his 99th birthday. He was the husband of the late Virginia (West) Andrews, who died in 1998 and with whom he shared 52 years of marriage.
Born in Provincetown on January 28, 1920, he was the son of the late Jesse and Victoria (Rezendes) Andrews. He worked for a short period of time at Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. in Bristol, RI, a manufacturer of PT boats, before joining the Navy in 1942.
He was a decorated World War II veteran, serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS Cowpens and a second tour of duty in the South Pacific, surviving Typhoon Cobra in December 1944. After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he returned to Provincetown where he married Ginny in 1946 and raised their family.
Joe was a consummate craftsman and master boatbuilder. While still in high school, he learned his craft working for Manuel Furtado at his boat shop where Sal’s Restaurant is now. He later worked for both Flyer’s Boat Shop and Taves Boat Yard. He excelled at engine repair. Joe could build or fix almost anything. Over the years, he rebuilt his home and also did much work at the homes of his children, building bookshelves, leveling floors, building a shed and even a doghouse. He also built several toy boats for his children and grandchildren as well as three scale models of his sailboat Ranger. These models are works of art.
He was a member of the Provincetown Fire Department for 29 years, including 23 years as the Engineer of Pumper One. Although Joe retired a number of years ago, the fire department was very important to him, and he maintained a close relationship with Chief Michael Trovato and the members of Pumper 1.
Joe owned a number of boats over the years, most notably the Ranger, a 26-foot sloop built in 1907 or 1908. He originally owned the Ranger with Francis “Flyer” Santos, but after it was badly damaged by Hurricane Carol in 1954, Joe assumed sole ownership and rebuilt the boat in his garage. She was relaunched in 1960, and Joe sailed her in Provincetown Harbor (often with no crew) for 40 years. In 2015, he gave the Ranger to his close friend, Francis John Santos, who rebuilt her and now sails her in Provincetown Harbor.
For a number of years, Joe also participated in (and usually won) the weekly sailboat races sponsored by the Provincetown Yacht Club. In addition, Joe was one of the founding members of the West End Racing Club (a club to teach the children of Provincetown to sail).
Joe loved music and taught himself to play both the guitar and the accordion, occasionally playing with Provincetown’s famed Linguica Band. He especially enjoyed listening to and playing early country songs, or what he called “cowboy music.”
Despite some medical setbacks, Joe continued to work in his home workshop throughout 2018 on various projects including the maintenance of the elaborate whirly-gig windmills that he designed and constructed and displayed in his yard.
In October, as Provincetown’s oldest registered voter, Joe was honored by the Town of Provincetown as the recipient of the Boston Post Cane in a small ceremony at home where he regaled town officials and family members for over two hours with stories of growing up in Provincetown, his time in the Navy and even town politics. He had an amazing memory of current and past events and was frequently visited by town residents seeking information about a variety of subjects.
He is survived by his daughters Victoria Mendes and her husband Paul of Provincetown; Deborah McGonnell and her husband John of Onset; and his sons Michael Andrews and his wife Maria of Provincetown; David Andrews and his husband Charles Edwards of Arlington, VA. He is also survived by grandsons, Adam Mendes of Brewster and Joshua Mendes of Provincetown; as well as a niece and three nephews. In 2013 he was predeceased by his sister, Mary Redfearn of Martinez, GA.
He was a member of St. Peter the Apostle Parish and the Walter Welsh Council, Knights of Columbus. He was also a member of the Louis A. Young Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Family and friends are invited to call at the Gately Funeral Home, 94 Harry Kemp Way, Provincetown on Thursday, January 31st from 4 to 7 pm. A Funeral Mass will be held Friday, February 1st at 10:00 am at St. Peter the Apostle Church, 11 Prince St., Provincetown. Burial will be in St. Peter Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Joe’s memory may be made to the Provincetown Firemen’s Association, 25 Shank Painter Road, Provincetown, MA 02657.