Jose Sanchez
Member - Army

José (Joe) Luis Sanchez, a great American and resident of Tabernacle NJ passed away at the age of 77. 

Joe was born on June 21, 1944 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Marina Roman and Benicio Sanchez-Castaño. He later moved to the Eastern United States to attend and graduate from the Carson Long Military Academy in Pennsylvania. He then spent one year in the Sullivan Preparatory School in Washington DC before fulfilling his childhood dream of attending the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, where he met his beloved wife, Nancy, and forged lifelong bonds with his classmates and new brothers.

His proudest achievements were graduating from USMA, marrying the love of his life Nancy, and becoming a commissioned officer and pilot in the US Army. He went on to serve two tours of duty in Vietnam as a pilot and Army Ranger attached to the 173rd Airborne and commander of a platoon of the 203rd Recon-Brigade. He flew Birddogs and earned 22 Air Medals including a bronze star and the Distinguished Flying Cross during his service in Vietnam. 

Following his military service, Joe had a successful career in corporate America and worked in senior leadership positions for various companies before retiring to private business. Despite his work commitments, he always made time for his family and was very active in his children and grand children’s lives and supported them in their pursuits. He remained extremely close to his two life-long friends from Sullivan Preparatory School, did all he could to support his brothers in the long grey line (old grads and cadets) and was active with his class and brothers – USMA ’65. He was a valued friend and trusted Classmate known for his tenacity, strength of character and unflinching willingness to help anyone in need. His gregarious personality and ready smile coupled with his uncompromising standards made him a unique treasure welcomed in any setting. 

He was the coolest dad, never acted his age and had a larger than life personality with a heart of gold. He was often described as the life of the party, loved a good laugh and went out of his way to make friends with people of all professional, social and academic backgrounds. He was a rare combination of someone with love for life and utmost dedication to what is truly important – family and the ones you love. 

He was a history buff, airplane and train enthusiast, toy soldier collector/hobbyist, wine and food connoisseur, cigar aficionado, amateur bartender (we will miss the drinks), fashionista, and a great debater that could converse on any subject. 

Joe was a true citizen of the world and traveled to every corner of the earth, but nothing made him happier than returning home to his family in the USA. 

He lived a full life on his terms with dignity and honor. The world was truly a much better place while he was here and now that he is gone, it presently feels much less kind for all who knew and loved him. We are grateful for the time together and all of the wonderful memories. He will be sorely missed and forever remembered. 

He never slowed down and was the world’s greatest grandfather. He was known to his grandchildren and more as "GD”, a name he gave himself 24 years ago because he felt he was too young to be a grandfather. 

Beloved husband to Nancy Sanchez of Tabernacle NJ, father to Lisa (Robert) Hilden of CA and Steve (Ubby) Sanchez of TX, grandfather aka GD to Hanna, John, Steven and Ethan. In addition Joe is survived by his loving brother Benicio Sanchez-Rivera, sisters Anae, Alis, Zulma and the families of Sanchez-Castaño, Sanchez-Rivera, Sanchez-Gaetan and Sanchez-Landrau of Puerto Rico.

Fare thee well Joe, you ran an amazing race, and your work here on earth is done. Be thou at peace! 

A memorial service and interment will be held at the United States Military Academy at West Point Cemetery at a later date.

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