CHERRY VALLEY — Joseph Sapinsky, 89, of Cherry Valley, died at his home on March 1, 2013, with his wife by his side. His heart was young and his spirit loving and peaceful as it had been all his life.
Joseph Charles Sapinsky was born in New York City on Dec. 13, 1923. His father was Judge Simon Sapinsky, a law partner of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. His mother, Janet Charles Sapinsky, was a dress designer with a shop in New York that catered to singers from The Metropolitan Opera.
He grew up on the beaches of Long Beach, Long Island, where he eventually become head of the lifeguards on one of the busiest ocean beaches in the East. His love of swimming and the water was lifelong.
After graduating high school at 16 Joe studied Illustration at Pratt Institute. He left during World War II to serve as a naval aviator where his natural skills as a pilot made him an aviation instructor at the age of 20. He remained in the Navy Reserve for the next 20 years. He rose to the rank of captain, leading a squadron that flew out of Floyd Bennett Field on Long Island.
By the time he retired, to protest U.S. involvement in Vietnam, he had flown everything from open-cockpit biplanes to supersonic jets, claiming the hardest thing he ever did was land on a carrier in a storm at night.
After the war. Joe went to work in the studios of famed cartoonist Al Capp where he not only designed and illustrated for Mr. Capp’s stable of magazines, but occasionally posed for covers where his handsome, boyish good looks made him the perfect Billy the Kid.
He moved on to The Saturday Evening Post as photography editor, then to The Herald Tribune magazine as art director. Joe discovered and worked with some of the outstanding photographers, illustrators and writers of the day, including Richard Avedon, Hiro, Hans Namuth, Tom Wolfe and many others. He also worked in Europe in both Geneva and London, where he and Jane were married in 1970.