Joseph Caputo was born on Christmas Day,1946. I think Christmas Day was a fitting birthday for Joey because Joey was the gift that kept on giving.
Joey began square dancing with the Times Squares in the fall of 2007 and he graduated from Mainstream in 2008. Joey would graduate from Plus and Advanced, would volunteer at our annual Fly-In, “Peel- the-Pumpkin,” and would eventually serve as a board member.
But more than what Joey did, is what he did for you. Joey was a kind and generous and outgoing and funny man. And did I mention sexy and flirty. When I had known Joey for a few months, the two of us were along Christopher Street. Joey stopped and looked at me and asked, “Are you dominant or submissive?” I thought for a moment and answered, “I don’t think I have ever been submissive, but if you are asking if I am a top or a bottom, I would have to say, I’m a bottom.” Joey smiled and said, “That’s what I thought….so I guess we’ll be friends.”
From that moment on, I was a lucky man because Joey was a wonderful friend and there is not a moment that goes by that I don’t miss him.
Joey was born in Yonkers but raised in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. Joey graduated from high school and later, court reporting school. Joey worked as a court reporter and then moved on to a position in the Graduate School of Social Services at Fordham University, Joey began working at Fordham in 1968.
Joey was the longest serving employee at the Lincoln Center campus. Joey began his work at Fordham facilitating placements for social work students in their fieldwork. Later, Joey held the position of supervisor of faculty support and office manager. Joey never retired. Joey loved his work and his coworkers held him in high regard.
Joey was one of two brothers, Andrew (Andy) Caputo, being four years younger. Joey and Andy had a large circle of friends and took advantage of being young and gay and quite lovely to look at. In his youth, Joey often had five or six people living with him in his apartment on West Fourth Street. Most of the time they slept in shifts. Joey made lifelong friends and those friends were with him to the very end.
I was with Joey and Andy when Joey’s doctor told him he had stage four lung cancer. The room was very still but the love and devotion between Joey and Andy was so palpable, words were not needed.
During Joey’s cancer treatment he carried on and did as much as he could because one very important thing to Joey was dancing. Joey loved to square dance and every time he could get up and dance was a good night for Joey. In time, Joey did benefit from his cancer treatment and it gave him more time. Time to work. Time to play and time to dance.
There came a day when Joey’s cancer had spread and Andy and I and Les and Susan and Kim and Tom, Amy, Norman, Emad and Nick and Bill and George and Larry C visited him in the hospital and the nursing homes where he was attempting to build up his strength. We met Joey’s other friends, Robert, who we knew from his year with the Times Squares and George and so many friends from Fordham. This love and support is what Joey earned from years of giving and goodwill. When Joey loved you, you knew it.
Joey Caputo died February 15, 2015, at the age of 68. When Joey was laid to rest at the Funeral Home, I looked around the room and there were many square dancers among many people paying their respects. Betsy Gotta was looking at photos of Joey when he was a child and a young man. When Betsy stood in front of Joey to say her goodbye, I couldn’t help but think how much Joey would have loved to hear Betsy sing and how much he would have loved to dance one more dance.
Joey leaves behind his loving brother, Andy Caputo and his loving brother-in-law, David McFadden. I always felt happy when I knew I was going to see Joey. I am enveloped in love when I think about him.
Now, whenever I think I am too tired to dance, I will think of Joey and dance one more time.
— Dave Kampel