George H. Joest Sr. passed away peacefully at Heath Village in Hackettstown, NJ, on February 28, 2017, at the age of 86. He was a 30-year prostate cancer survivor under the kind and compassionate care of Dr. Kenneth Adler.
George was born to Michael and Elizabeth Joest in Newark, NJ, on November 10, 1930. Raised in Nutley, NJ, he graduated from Nutley High School in 1949 and remained a Nutley fan all his life. He was a very gifted student and an able athlete, going on to study engineering and play basketball at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on a basketball/academic scholarship. When the Korean Conflict arose, he served his country as a Fire Control Specialist and gained an understanding of electronics and early radar systems. His education served him well, as he went on to work in the machining and fabricating business started by his parents in 1943. George went on to become president of that company, Imperial Machine & Tool Co. (IMT), and remained at the helm for over 20 years. Under his leadership, IMT pursued the many opportunities afforded by the fledgling computer industry, and George was a well-known presence at IBM facilities in the 1960s and ‘70s. IMT also supplied components for the Apollo Lunar missions, and George was proud of the fact that Imperial components are still on the moon as part of the Lunar Lander. George had an entrepreneurial insight and mechanical aptitude that enabled the company to tackle some of the most challenging work of the time. He imbued that spirit in both of his sons, and the company is now enjoying its 74th year under Joest family stewardship.
George was an avid fly fisherman. While trout fishing was his first love, George could always be counted on to take rod in hand for bonefish on the salt water flats of the Florida Keys at his second home in Islamorada, FL, or for Atlantic salmon on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick, Canada. He enjoyed traveling the world to fish, but his real love was spending time with his wife and family. He was a family man who could always be counted on for his insightful advice and kind thoughts. Just like his German mother, George was an excellent cook and never missed an opportunity to share a meal with family or friends. He was predeceased by his high school sweetheart and beloved wife of 55 years, Dorothy Toth Joest, who passed away in 2008. Together, George and Dorothy were residents of Morris Township, NJ, for over 50 of those years.
George is survived by his children, Linda Joest of Morristown, NJ, George Joest and his wife, Laureen, of Cody, WY, Christian Joest and his wife, Diane, of Blairstown, NJ, and Pamela Pearce and her husband, Kevin, of Milford, NJ. In addition to his children and friends, he will be sorely missed by his 11 grandchildren and 7 (soon-to-be 9) great-grandchildren, of whom he was so very proud. George loved to marvel at the large, tight-knit family that he—himself an only child—created.
Visiting will be Sunday, March 5, from 2 to 5 pm, at Dangler Funeral Home in Morris Plains, with a funeral mass celebrated at St. Margaret’s of Scotland Church in Morristown on March 6 at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation in George’s memory to the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Memorial Fund, PO Box 6, Convent Station, NJ 07961, so that music might continue to ease the way for cancer patients and their families at Morristown Medical Center.