99-year-old Young Man Joe Gonsalves -the Traffic Warden Chief No More
Mangaluru: Born on 1 January 1921, Joseph Gonsalves, fondly known as Joe Gonsalves would have celebrated his Centenarian Birthday just five months from today, but unfortunately breathed his last on Sunday morning, 29 August 2021 after being admitted to Father Muller Hospital for age-old illness. A founder of the Mangaluru’s ‘Traffic Warden’ Group, Joe had inspired a generation of Mangalureans with his social work and sense of public duty and was a role model for the young and old.
Even being in his late nineties, he was seen near the Hampankatta Junction doing his duties as Traffic Warden, proving that age is just a number and that if you have the Will there is a way, even non-octogenarians can do the job of a youngster. A resident of Falnir in Mangaluru, Joe Gonsalves before his retirement had worked for a British company named ‘J L Morison’, where he had joined as a management trainee and went on to become General Sales Manager. A man deeply committed to the values of Jesuit education, Joe is an inspiration to all. Educated at St Aloysius College and Institute of Marketing, London, he traveled widely and deeply engaged in incorporated companies throughout the globe, he has never deterred from the values of his Alma mater. He later served as Executive Director of a private company and followed it up with a stint at marketing at the Institute of Marketing, London. He was also an elected member of the institute.
After his retirement, he served on the board of directors of educational institutions and charitable organizations and was the founder-director of the St Aloysius Alumni Association of North America. With his vast experience, he took the initiative to solve the traffic issues in Mangaluru, and with the assistance of the department of traffic, took charge as Traffic Warden chief in 2015, at the age of 94. He regularly held interactions with youngsters on safe driving and other important issues. For his service and contribution to the city, the traffic department had honoured him in January 2019, when T R Suresh was the Police Commissioner, in the presence of then DCP (Law and Order) Hanumantharaya; DCP (Crime and Traffic) Ms Uma Prashanth; ACP-Traffic Sub Division M Manjunath Shetty; MCC Commissioner Mohammed Nazeer; RTO In-Charge John Misquith; and KSRTC Divisional Commissioner Deepak Kumar.
These Two NRI’s/Citizens from USA (Left) Joe Gonsalves and (Right) Joe D’Souza (77) communicated with each other and did yeomen Social Service in Mangaluru City
Being a yoga enthusiast, Joe was a role model to many when it came to fitness. He had held programmes for the elderly to demonstrate exercises and share tips on leading a healthy lifestyle. His commitment to excellence, discipline, and social consciousness is worthy of emulation. He has also been a champion of civic sense, especially traffic regulation in the city of Mangaluru. This commitment to civic society has propelled him to be the Chief Traffic Warden of Mangaluru at this golden ripe age- a champion for St Aloysius.
After he was honoured with ‘Eminent Aloysian Award’ by St Aloysius Institutions on 26 March 2018, in his acceptance speech, the 96-year young man Joe Gonsalves then said, “St Aloysius Institutions has made me a complete man, for which I owe my sincere gratitude while receiving this memorable award. As they say ‘Once an Aloysian, Always an Aloysian”- while I mean that, I will remain an Aloysian forever and feel proud of it. My heartfelt thanks to the Jesuit priests who had nurtured me and taught me moral values. An institution that was born 138 years ago, is still alive and growing to greater heights, producing many eminent achievers serving the world. My humble request as the Chief Traffic Warden in the City, I call upon a few Alumni or present Aloysians to come forward and spend at least a couple of hours volunteering in the traffic warden job. You will be doing a good job, serving the commuters and motorists, in maintaining safety on the streets of Mangaluru. I will cherish today’s moments forever”.
It is learnt that Joe and his wife Irene were one of the few Roman Catholic couples to live jointly even in their 90’s. When his beloved wife died in the year 2017, they both were happily married for over 67 years and had four children, three girls, and a boy. Three of his
children are in the US who used to call him often and check on him. The daughters’ names are Dr Lorna married to Peter Pinto, Michelle married to Michael Mathias, and son Franco married to Margaret, all three are settled in the USA. One daughter Cheryl “Cherry” Saldanha is married to Harold Saldanha and is living in Mangaluru.
Joe seen with ACP (Traffic) Nataraj
According to a close family friend of Joe Gonsalves, she said, “Uncle Joe was a jolly and jovial man. very active and physically fit doing his yoga daily, and also taught yoga to college students and youth. A good dancer, he had the gentleman charm of the olden days. With a great sense of humour he made people laugh at get-togethers, meetings, and other occasions. He was also a good orator and did lots of social service in the City, and also visited the sick in hospitals, nursing homes, and ashrams. Joe had a close relationship with religious people, law enforcement fraternity, and other district officials.
Joe and his wife Irene Gonsalves
Team Mangalorean extends heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. May His Soul Rest In Peace!
MORTAL REMAINS WILL BE BROUGHT TO MILAGRES CHURCH-HAMPANKATTA, MANGALURU ON MONDAY 30 AUGUST 2021 AT 2.00 PM FOR PUBLIC VIEWING UNTIL 3.00 PM, FOLLOWING WHICH THERE WILL BE A PRIVATE BURIAL AS PER COVID-19 PROTOCOLS