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Farewell to construction world giant Correia

Family man: Joseph Correia, who has died at 85

Joseph Correia, a giant in Bermuda’s construction world who “left his mark all over the Island”, has died at the age of 85.

His wife Marjorie, who helped him found Correia Construction alongside their son Dennis, recalled him as a kind-hearted employer and family man who “always put himself in another person’s place”.

“If a person was hurting or needed money, he was always very soft-hearted, kind, fair minded,” Mrs Correia said. The couple also have a daughter, Kathryn.

Mr Correia set out in the business, also acquiring a tough work ethic, by helping his father build after school as a child. He grew into “a jack-of-all-trades in the end”, Mrs Correia said.

“He became an electrician, a plumber; everything. He was well-respected and his employees always loved him.”

Along with construction, Mr Correia — who preferred to be known simply as “Joe” — was an avid sportsman. A faithful Manchester United fan, he played football well until a fellow player’s injury dissuaded him.

“He was married with two children and decided he didn’t want to end up with a broken leg,” Mrs Correia said. Once Warwick Lanes opened, Mr Correia turned instead to bowling and became “very proficient at that”.

According to the the company he founded in 1972, Joe Correia was the first trench digger operator; tractor trailer driver and cane operator in Bermuda.

He had started at Salsbury Construction in 1948 and was instrumental in getting the Southampton Princess Hotel open in 1972 but felt driven to run his own business, his wife said.

“He resigned, started his own, and the two of us worked together with Dennis.”

According to the company web site, the businesses’s first marine project was the renovation of the Esso Pier dock. The following year, Mr Correia undertook a major equipment move for Belco, and in 1974 demolished the old Severn Bridge that connected St George’s to St David’s.

“There were so many projects I can’t even remember them all,” his wife said. “We worked on Penno’s Wharf in St George’s, the Ordnance Island bridge, and a lot of docks, such as the No 5 Dock, the Dinghy Club, the St George’s Boat Club dock, a lot of work in Dockyard. He was retiring but he helped with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.”

Mr Correia almost lost his life during work on Watford Bridge, she recalled, when a hurricane caught workers by surprise while they were aboard a barge.

Dredging jobs included Hamilton Harbour, the Foot of the Lane, and projects at Dockyard that had to accommodate nuclear submarines. The company formally incorporated in 1982, and later projects included Somersfield Academy and PW’s Marina.

He died on Friday morning. According to Mrs Correia, a funeral is planned for 3pm on Friday at St Paul’s Church in Paget. In accordance with his wishes, Mr Correia’s service will be short, and guests are asked to wear colours rather than black.