Joseph “Joe” Sakosky died peacefully surrounded by family at his bedside on Saturday, Jan. 22 at Bryn Mawr Hospital, after months of declining health. Mr. Sakosky was a longtime resident of Glenolden, Pa. and served his country admirably in both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force.
Mr. Sakosky was born in Darby, Pa. and attended St. Joseph’s (Collingdale) Catholic School before enrolling at Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware. At Archmere his academic excellence (as evidenced by his perfect 1600 SAT score) earned him a full scholarship. In addition, he earned a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. Joseph went on to obtain a Master of Science degree in International Business Studies at the University of South Carolina, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology.
Mr. Sakosky enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1975 and served as a military interrogator in Coburg, West Germany. During his four years in the Army, Joseph demonstrated an extraordinary ability to learn languages. He ultimately became fluent in German, French, Russian, Polish, Italian, Finnish, Dutch and Norwegian over the course of his lifetime.
In 1983, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served as an Astronautical Engineer assigned to Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton Ohio and Vandenburg AFB in Lompoc, Calif. During his time at Wright Patterson, he authored a foundational paper on quaternion numbering for multi-dimensional representation of airframes and their associated flight characteristics. This work contributed to today's modern understanding of aircraft and missile flight behaviors. At Vandenberg, he used his deep subject matter expertise to manage national space program support operations, including the first three west coast TITAN IV missile launches.
Mr. Sakosky possessed a quiet, humble, and pensive demeanor but had a warm smile and was kind and courteous to whomever he met. He put his language fluency to use. Standing over 6’5”, Joseph was longtime member of Tall Clubs International, where he held various office positions, Joseph enjoyed the organization's international meetings and made annual trips to Europe for over twenty years. His passport stamps bear witness to his prolific travels across the continent.
Mr. Sakosky was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma national business Honor Society as well as Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society. Joseph volunteered for hospice organizations and the California Special Olympics.
Joseph was preceded in death by his father, Joseph M. Sakosky, and mother, Helen T. (Kosierowski) Sakosky.
He is survived by his son, Peter Sakosky (Kim), grandchildren Grant and Weston, sisters Barbara Purks, Marie Kelly (John D.), brothers John and Michael Sakosky (Paula), six nieces, three nephews, and his longtime partner and travel companion, Florenta Caprer.
A mass of Christian Burial and Interment will be private.
In his memory, donations may be made to:
Little Sisters of the Poor
C/O Holy Family Home
5300 Chester Avenue
Philadelphia, Pa. 19143
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Holy Family Home "Little Sisters of the Poor"
5300 Chester Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19143