formerly of Haverhill — Joseph Alper, 87, of Lake Worth, Fla., and formerly of Haverhill, Mass., died peacefully on Friday, June 21, at Bethesda Memorial Hospital, Boynton Beach, Fla.
He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., April 25, 1926, and was the son of the late Israel and Ida (Fleet) Alper. Educated in the Lawrence School System, Mr. Alper graduated from Lawrence High School, Class of 1944, and attended Boston University to study mechanical engineering.
At the height of the Depression, six-year-old Joseph was hawking newspapers on the street corners of New York City. As circumstances changed, his family relocated to Lawrence, Mass. On his 18th birthday, Joseph enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and was in the WW II Battle of Okinawa, his first engagement at the age of 19. He received two Purple Hearts during WW II, in addition to other medals. He saw another tour of duty in the Korean Conflict, and was awarded another Purple Heart.
Six months after meeting his wife-to-be, Sarah, at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, they were married in Boston in January, 1953, and raised their five sons in Haverhill. He was a longtime member of Temple Emanu-El. As a dedicated family man, his never-ending focus in life was the care of and providing for his family, always working tirelessly. For over 35 years, he was employed at the former Western Electric as a new product analyst until he retired in 1989. He enjoyed 25 years of retirement in Florida with his wife, Sandy, of 59 years, who passed away in January 2012. Both Joe and Sandy will be sincerely missed by all who knew them.
He was a member of Merrimac Lodge F&AM, having attained the rank 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite, of a possible 33 degrees. He was an avid woodworker creating everything from mallets with threaded handles to yard furniture. He enjoyed working on his cars, finding relaxation in those endeavors, and was a passionate reader who especially enjoyed mysteries. Mr. and Mrs. Alper were staunch supporters of the Special Olympics and St. Jude’s Hospital for Children, contributing their time as well as financially to these worthy causes.