Joseph Kavanagh, 74, a passionate railroader from Lake Luzerne, NY, passed away surrounded by close family on March 31, 2023. Joe was a loving husband, brother, son, uncle, cousin, and friend, and is survived by his wife, several generations of loving family from all around the world, and countless friends and fellow model railroaders.
A native New Yorker from Queens, Joe graduated from Manhattan College with a degree in Civil Engineering. He had a 30-year career with the New York City DEP as a Design Project Manager.
Joe and his wife lived in White Plains where they were both active in their neighborhood association. He was also appointed by the White Plains City Council to serve on the Conservation Board and spent five years volunteering on that citizen board. They moved to Lake Luzerne in 2004 and soon joined the Historical Society. Joe was named to the Board of Directors and served as President from 2016-2019, and continued to serve as past president until his passing. An avid fan of instrumental classical music, Joe and his wife volunteered at the Luzerne Music Camp for a number of summers until the pandemic.
Joe’s lifelong passion was model trains. He was a dedicated member of several NMRA Clubs in the rolls of President, Director, and Founding Member. In 1988 he became a member of Rutland Railroad Historical Society and also joined large scale outdoor railroad clubs: the Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Adirondack Live Steamers clubs which inspired Joe to create his own outdoor railroad. After he retired in Lake Luzerne, he became a member of the Hudson-Berkshire Division of the NMRA and he began working on his own railroad. In 2021, Joe was awarded the Master Model Railroader (MMR®), one of only several hundred in the world.
Joe’s subtle wit and keen intellect were inspiring to all those he met. He was incredibly generous and humble, a man of prudence and thoughtfulness who exercised a calm steadiness and focus as he worked towards his goals- always with a twinkle in his eye. He inspired family and friends to embrace life, nature, railroading, and music- and was a steady and supportive resource to his family and many, many friends. He was open to all and judging of none.
Joe was a truly gentle, humorous, focused, brilliant, kind, and great man whose impact will be forever felt by his family and friends, who will always love him dearly.
In honor of Joe’s life and legacy, donations can be made in support of students pursuing STEM and/or music through ‘The Joseph A. Kavanagh ’66 Memorial Scholarship Fund’ at Joe’s treasured high school alma mater, Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, NY. (Visit www.loughlin.org , select ‘donate’ and then select the scholarship fund above in the drop down menu.)
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