Joseph J. Estock was born on March 6, 1932 and maintained his family residence in King of Prussia, PA his entire life until he lost his brief battle with COVID-19 on January 25, 2021.
A lyric to one of his favorite songs goes, “There are men, but ones like him are few and far between.” This was true about Joe. He was known as Dad, Pops, Esty, Sonny, or Uncle Joe depending on how and when you knew him. He was married to Theresa Romanelli Estock for 49 years until her passing in 2004. Following this, he found companionship with Theresa Dever. He was the loving father of Michele Heleniak (Richard) of Blue Bell, PA and Joseph M. Estock (Noreen) of West Norriton, PA. He was very proud of his four grandchildren, Gregory (Jacob Oxford) and Anna Heleniak and the twins, Andrew Estock (Kyle McCormick) and Meghan Roman (Anthony), and their accomplishments as attorney, pharmaceutical marketer, engineer, and nurse practitioner. He supported them all along the way.
Joe attended Our Mother of Sorrows School in Bridgeport, PA and was a graduate of Saint Matthew’s High School, Class of 1950, in Conshohocken, PA. His passion to figure things out and make things work led him to pursue training and certifications in automatic transmission repair, oil burner installation and maintenance, and land surveying from Drexel Institute of Technology. He also loved repairing and restoring cars. He liked to say, “If I can’t fix it, then it can’t be fixed!”
Joe was a guy who could do anything he put his mind to. He wanted to be remembered for his unprecedented promotion to Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, where he served 30 miles above the 38th parallel in Korea. Equipped with his new knowledge of automatic transmissions, he was placed in the motor pool. Many Jeeps were sitting idle because they were experiencing slow delivery of parts. Joe proposed using one Jeep for parts to get as many vehicles as possible back in service. This earned him his first promotion. But, that wasn’t what got him promoted to Staff Sergeant. The camp was set up to be easily moved, so there was no electricity. He wrote to his father and asked him to send 12V lightbulbs and the sockets. He then took a spare battery from the motor pool and wired up the light bulbs. This ingenuity did not go unnoticed. The Colonel insisted that if anyone was going to have electrified light in the camp, it would be him. Joe was ordered to move his invention to the Colonel’s quarters. He was put on mess duty for stepping out of line, but subsequently was promoted to Staff Sergeant for his cleverness. He made that rank in just 8 months. He said that promotion was one of his greatest accomplishments.
On May 14, 1955, he married Theresa (Tee) Romanelli and they began their life together on Joe’s family property in King of Prussia. Shortly after, he started his career in land surveying. He was part of the survey crew that laid out the Schuylkill Expressway from the City Line to Valley Forge. He would often point out some of his survey marks that are still there. He then worked with Don Schurr, who admired him so much that he gave him his business when he retired. Joe passed the PA license test and established his own practice, surveying more properties in Montgomery and Chester Counties than most realize, and handing the practice off to his son, Joseph M. Estock, when he retired in 1992. Throughout those years, he became one of the most respected land surveyors in suburban Philadelphia.
Joe worked hardest in the warmer months, giving him more time to enjoy the winter ski season. He retired at age 60 because he did not want to be too old when he finally had the time to ski more and do the things he loved. He liked going to Elk Mountain and Killington, VT for the convenience, but he and Tee also took many trips to tackle the toughest slopes in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He skied with the “Ski Gang” until almost 80 years old and was tickled that there were some places in Utah where he was now old enough to be eligible for a free ticket!
Joe was a member of the Knights of Columbus (Fourth Degree) and the VFW. He lived for two years at Brightview Senior Living in East Norriton, PA, and briefly at Blue Bell Place in Blue Bell, PA.
Joe will be missed tremendously by his loving family and friends. Despite being very careful throughout the pandemic and social distancing from his family for more than 10 months, Joe still contracted COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, his burial services will be private and a memorial will be held at a later date.
His family would like to take this opportunity to remind people to wear their masks, social distance, and continue to be vigilant even after getting vaccinated to protect those most vulnerable to this virus.
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