Joseph Gerard La Belle passed away unexpectedly on January 15, 2021 in Westborough. He was born December 28, 1958 in Springfield to Joseph A. and Lorraine (Luce) La Belle. Sandwiched between three sisters, Joe was smart, quick-witted and always prepared to make a point. The nuns at Cathedral High gave a prayer of thanks when he graduated in 1976. He went on to earn a BA from Holyoke Community College and an MBA from WNEU, he then worked as an analyst and project manager. Joe truly enjoyed people and loved to learn what was important to them which allowed him to thrive in the pension management environment. He retired from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch in 2019.
The journey toward Joe’s greatest joy began on New Year’s Eve 1980, when he met Deb Ruell at a party. They shared a kiss at midnight and he gave her a ride home in his ’61 Willy’s pickup. He bought her roses on New Year’s Eve for the next 40 years. The pair were married April 19, 1985 in Ludlow at St. John the Baptist, where Deb’s mother and grandmother had each wed. She was his princess and best friend.
A daughter, Alyssa soon joined them and Andrew followed not far behind. Joe passed along a voracious love of reading, science and the art of “learning things just to know” to his children. He was the kind of father who would climb out a second story window and circle around the house to “surprise” his kids as they waited outside the bathroom door. He was a tinkerer and builder who would enlist the help of the kids, teaching them important lessons along the way. Family vacations in Florida created memories of sunrise walks, sea turtle spotting and the opportunity to learn about everything they encountered.
An incredible cook, Joe loved to feed people. And while legend has it that he could “turn anything into a sandwich” there was no PB&J here. His range was broad and varied. He’d pack Shrimp scallop scampi in the kid’s lunches, and once prepared a gourmet dish for his sister’s dog’s last supper. A guest at the La Belle’s dinner table was in for an unforgettable experience.
Joe was incredibly proud of Alyssa and Andrew and beamed with the opportunity to talk about them. He’d place photos on his PC wallpaper so clients and colleagues would ask about his kids. That pride extended to his son-in-law, Matt and daughter-in-law, Charlotte. One of Joe’s fondest wishes became one of his greatest joys when grandson James joined the family. Although separated by the miles Joe lived for those video chats of James as he grew. Family was everything to Joe—with a tiny spot reserved for the New England Patriots, of course.
Joe’s family finds peace in knowing that he has gone on to learn the mysteries of the universe and find the answers to all of the things he’d ever wondered about. Those things were many. The list was a lifetime long.
Surviving are his mother, Lorraine; Joe’s wife of 35 years, Deb; daughter, Alyssa (Matt) Flynn; son, Andrew (Charlotte) La Belle and grandson, James; sisters, Michele La Belle, Lynne La Belle and Laurie (Don) LaPlant; and in-laws Jack Ruell, Jerry Ruell, Larry Ruell and Annie Evans.
Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date. The La Belle family asks that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to the Westborough Food Pantry, PO Box 502, Westborough, MA 01581.