Obituary: Joseph Charles Hembrooke Jr.

Joe Hembrooke passed away, Wednesday, July 6, 2016.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • Neighborhood
  • Share

Joseph Charles Hembrooke Jr., of Ocoee, Florida, passed away Wednesday, July 6, 2016. He was 81. Joe was born in Brooklyn, New York, on Feb. 3, 1935, to Frances Adelaide (Kelsey) Hembrooke and Joseph Charles Hembrooke.

He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from what is now The College at Brockport, State University of New York, majoring in health and physical education. While teaching near his home on Long Island, New York, he began furthering his education, leading to a degree in educational administration. He served as Principal of Horseheads High School, Horseheads, New York, from 1971 till 1978, when he took a position as Delaware Valley Central School District Superintendent of Schools in Callicoon, New York. He retired from education in 1985.

Growing up, Joe and his family spent the summers at the family’s summer home at Lake George and, while at home in Brooklyn, he developed a love for baseball, which evolved into a continuing passion for the New York Mets. Joe had umpired the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and, since moving to Ocoee, Florida, in 1965, served as an umpire for the local Little Leagues program.

In 2015, he was recognized by Ocoee Little League for his years of volunteerism and dedication to the players.

Although baseball was in his blood, he was a fan, coach and official of other sports. While at Delaware Valley, he officiated girls’ soccer and was respected and admired as a fair and knowledgeable official who was received warmly by opposing teams when he was on the field.

His love of education was not just about books and learning. It reached far deeper into his love of people — his faculty, staff, students and their families. He was fair in administering, was willing to join in on the fun, but maintained professionalism and respect even when he donned a cheerleading outfit because the girls didn’t have the required coach to maintain the squad, or donned a rabbit costume to promote the school’s production of “Harvey.” His students loved and appreciated him but still knew he was in a position of authority.

Joe touched thousands of young lives over the years as principal and administrator, but he also served on the Board of Directors for Outstanding Young Americans, was a state director for America’s National Teenager and Pre-Teen programs; and, in 1981, was instrumental in creating America’s Favorite Pageants, a program where girls could compete based on academics, volunteer service and personality.

In 2003, he and his wife founded S.T.A.R.S. of West Orange Inc. (Supplies To Assist ouR Students), a program providing backpacks and basic school supplies to students from economically challenged students in West Orange County, Florida.

Joe’s smile and sense of humor were always apparent, whether on the field, in the classroom, public speaking, at church or in the community. He provided encouragement, guidance and support to those in need and was ready to offer a helping hand.

As a member of St. Pauls Presbyterian Church in Ocoee, he served as a deacon and an elder and on various committees, including the Mission Team where his organizational skills and expertise took him to the Board of Directors of Bread of Life Fellowship Inc., where he served as vice president. 

In May 2005, he was named Member of the Month by the West Orange Chamber of Commerce and received the West Orange Chamber of Commerce Community Champion Award for community service as a resident of the City of Ocoee that same year. He was an active member of the Chamber’s Education Committee and Events Team and always willing to assist when needed. The Silver Bend Homeowners Association recognized him for his many years of dedicated leadership and service as president, as well as volunteer.

In 2013 he was co-recipient of the coveted Disney Mouscar for his years of service providing backpacks and basic school supplies to local students and stimulating increased community awareness for other organizations to organize programs similar to S.T.A.R.S. to assist even more students.

He married the late Joan Cummings Oct. 7, 1956, and they had three children, Timothy Scott, Helene Ann and Kathleen Ann.

Joe is survived by his wife, Chesta (Filer) Hembrooke; daughters, Helene (Carri Jean) and Kathleen (Jackie Satterly); 10 grandchildren, Erica Hembrooke (Jessica Richards), Kristy Clark, Timothy (Ashlyn) Hembrooke II, Natalie (Tim) Jennings, Andrew (Abbey) Clark, Leslie Hembrooke, Tara Hembrooke, Victoria Hembrooke, Alexis Hembrooke and Dylan Hembrooke-Turner; five great-grandchildren, Peyton Jennings, Ava Albright, Hudson Hembrooke, Greyson Richards and Timothy Jennings; and many, many close and dear friends who became extended family to him.

A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 9, 2016 in the Sanctuary Chapel at Quest Church (formerly St. Pauls Presbyterian Church) in Ocoee, located at 1450 Citrus Oaks Avenue, Gotha, Florida.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to please consider making a donation to Bread of Life Fellowship Inc. in Joe’s name at

Condolences may be offered at Arrangements under the direction of Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Home, Winter Garden, Florida.


Related Articles

  • November 6, 2015
Reading Reindeer returns