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Joseph (Joe) Lori, U.S. Army Korean War Veteran and Past Flotilla Commander, US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla #75 Ruskin, Florida, died Jan. 21, 2015.
Funeral visitation for family and friends will be 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, at Southern Funeral Care, 10510 Riverview Drive, Riverview. Graveside services and full military honors will be 2:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, at Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida, with the U.S. Army and the Veterans of Foreign War officiating.
Joe was born May 15, 1935, in Jersey City, New Jersey. He moved his family to the Tampa Bay area in 1970 from New Jersey and established Certified Auto Electric Inc. of Tampa. After arriving in Tampa, he became very active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Joe has done so much and occupied so many positions in the Coast Guard Auxiliary that it is hard to know where to begin. Joe enrolled in the Auxiliary in October 1985 as a member of Flotilla 79, Tampa. He assisted with the formation of Flotilla 74, Brandon, was elected Vice Flotilla Commander and later, Flotilla Commander. With Flotilla 74 firmly on its feet, Joe was asked to take over Flotilla 75, which was struggling at that time. Joe was Commander of Flotilla 75 six times. He was twice elected Division 7 Captain. In addition, he was Operations Officer, PWC (Personal Watercraft) Officer and Chief of Qualification Examinations for District 7. He also held the office of Operations Officer for Division 7. Joe was heavily involved in Operations and contributed extensively to the updates of the Auxiliary Operations Manual. His nickname was “Joe the Book” because when asked a question about Auxiliary procedures or protocol, his response was always, “Read the Book,” meaning the Auxiliary Manuals.
As an Auxiliary Instructor, Joe traveled extensively throughout the U.S., but the highlight of his travels came in 2001, when the U.S. Army asked him to come to Camp Doha, Kuwait for a month to train Special Forces in the use of PWC for support missions. He also went to Puerto Rico to train Coast Guard personnel.
In 2008, the Coast Guard awarded Joe the prestigious Coast Guard Auxiliary Service Medal for “Exceptional Meritorious Achievement and Superior Performance of Duties.” The citation, the highest award given to a civilian, in part reads – “Auxiliarist Joseph J. Lori is cited for outstanding and meritorious service worthy of special recognition from January 1996 thru December 2007 while serving as a member of the Seventh Coast Guard District Auxiliary. During this period, he demonstrated the exceptional vision and initiative to significantly enhance and expand Coast Guard Auxiliary Personal Water Craft (PWC) programs. Since 1996, he has expertly contributed to the development of procedures, policies and qualifications criteria for PWC operators in the Auxiliary. … Auxiliarist Lori’s dedication and devotion to duty is most heartily commended and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.”
Joe Lori was the first PWC Qualifications Examiner in District 7, and between May and September 1999, he trained and tested 23 members of the Winter Haven Fire Department and the Polk County Marine Unit. Members of the Sheriff’s Office of Marion County, Indiana traveled to Florida to be trained by him.
While serving as District Staff Officer-Operations in 2000, Auxiliarist Lori found every opportunity to enhance the Auxiliary PWC Program and provided seminars for Qualification Examiners throughout District 7. He responded to the need for qualified PWC operators in Puerto Rico to support OPSAIL 2000 and personally trained and tested 20 PWC operators. Joe arranged a PWC demonstration for the District Commander and the local media.
In 2007, despite serious personal health problems, Auxiliarist Lori maintained his many competencies and certification while completing 198 hours of service, of which 94 were in surface operations.
His loving family survives Joseph: sons Daniel and Anthony of Riverview, Florida; daughter, Dawn, of Gibsonton, Florida; and his wife, Catherine of 50 years. Other survivors include his children from a previous marriage: a son, Joseph of Tracy, California; daughters, Christina Marie of Tampa, and Tammy Susan of Riverview, Florida; a brother, Salvatore Salerno of Red Bank, New Jersey; 16 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. His parents John and Anne of New Jersey and older brother John of New York predecease him.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas, 66675 in the memory of Joseph John Lori.