No Ordinary Joe

Posted on January 24, 2014 under News & Updates with one comment

He was a constable with the Town of Antigonish police force.  He was a goodwill ambassador and tourist guide.  He was a community man and a family man.  He was a nice guy.

Joe Judique knew himself and his town very well.  He had common sense and he cared about people.  One woman I met recently spoke of the time she and a friend were walking down The Main with Joe after a Parish Centre dance in the ‘60’s.  He checked the door of every single establishment to make sure that the doors were locked, then he ushered the young women home safely.

Joe was a true gentleman and no one can remember him ever uttering a bad word toward another human being.

To many teenagers, back in the day, he was as much a father figure as he was an officer of the law.  He nudged, coached and cajoled a lot of us, keeping countless young people out of harm’s way.   Many a young man was escorted back to his house by Joe, after a night of partying.

These days, excessive force by law enforcement officers is all too common.  If Joe was guilty of anything while he patrolled the streets and alleys of Antigonish, it was of excessive kindness.  His first instinct when encountering a youth who was heading for trouble, was to make sure that everyone got home safely.

Joe had a keen wit that he applied liberally and effectively.   One evening, he received a phone call regarding a domestic disturbance.  Sensing an altercation, he deputized a friend who happened to be with him at the police station.  They arrived at the residence to find the male occupant rather intoxicated.   When Joe politely suggested that he come willingly to spend the night in jail, the man suggested that Joe wasn’t tough enough to carry out the task.  Joe replied, “Fine.  I’ll take you in two pieces, then”.   In another instance, he responded to a call from a local restaurant where a giant of a man was causing a disturbance.   Joe took one look at the fellow and said, “You can come peacefully or I’ll make two trips if I have to”.

Joe’s sense of humour diffused many conflicts.

He had the common touch and could easily carry on a conversation with anybody, regardless of financial means or stature in the community.  He could relate to people and had empathy for all; a gift that he was blessed with in abundance.

And he loved music, especially the Scottish variety.  His favorite fiddle player was Angus Chisholm.  Angus travelled from the New England States one year to play at the Highland Games.  Joe came armed with a tape recorder and recorded a piece called “Tullochgorum”.  He nearly wore out the tape over the years.

With Joe, family came first and he loved going back to his beloved Judique to spend time with his clan.  There’s probably a story or two there as well.

He was no ordinary Joe.

“Ar dheis De go raibh a anam”.  Rest in Peace, Joe.

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