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joe He's Also Known As: "Mr. Volunteer"

The Gouverneur Museum's Curator, Joe Laurenza is, at heart, an educator. When the museum's doorbell rings, he's there with a smile and a welcome.

If you choose, you will be given a guided tour. If you want to browse at your own pace, Joe will be there when you need him to clarify an exhibit or play a tune for you on the museum's Beckwith player piano, donated by William Sudds.

Joe grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and was married to his wife, Marilyn, for forty-five years. He is a graduate of St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. He was a business education teacher in the Gouverneur High School, Rockport High School in Rockport, MA, and for four years at Southwest Tech in Gouverneur before becoming its principal.

He served as the Principal of Southwest Tech's Vocational School for twenty-five years. Southwest Tech is part of the St. Lawrence-Lewis County BOCES system. Since retiring in 1995, after thirty-three years as a teacher and administrator, Joe expanded his role as an educator, becoming a "professional volunteer." His days are full of juggling his many responsibilities, all of which he is passionate about. When Joe received the Silas Wainwright VFW Good Citizenship Award in 1999, they called him, "Mr. Volunteer."

Joe spends a lot of time at St. James School, organizing the Outreach/Thrift Shop, working with children in the Library, running the Bingo concession, coordinating Book Fairs and Craft Fairs… you name it, Joe's doing it. He also serves on the Richville Library Board as the Vice President and teaches four or five programs each year for the AARP Mature Driving Program. And, of course, Joe is President of the Gouverneur Museum Board of Directors and the Historian of the Village of Gouverneur.

In addition to all these responsibilities, for the past ten years, in his role as the Curator of the Gouverneur Museum, Joe greets visitors to the Museum with a smile and a laugh and manages to keep the extensive collection of artifacts organized and in order. The museum is officially open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1:00 to 3:00, but if you call ahead and make arrangements, Joe will open the building to give you and your group a private tour.


bicent joe

Joe, dressed for the
Bicentennial in 2005

news10Joe tells the story of the E.J. Noble Lifesaver.