Joel Stephen Silverberg
Providence - Silverberg, Joel Stephen of Providence, Rhode Island, died of lymphoma on Sunday, August 11, 2019 at the age of 73. Loving husband of Patricia B.M. (Tish) Brennan; proud son of the late Irving and Anna Silverberg; proud father of Sarah Mae Brennan Silverberg; cherished brother of Wendy (Glenn Koocher) Silverberg; Joel is also survived by his niece, Becky (Tim Downey) Koocher, his nephew David Koocher and his Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Taffy.
He was proud all his life to be a Mainer and a Bangor boy: Bangor High, Class of 1964; Lt Colonel in the BHS ROTC unit, an award-winning marksman, counselor at YMCA/Camp Prentiss, and lover of LL Bean from back when it was an old wooden building with a front porch.
Joel earned four degrees from Brown University: AB/Music; ScB/Electrical Engineering; MSc/Electrical Engineering; and PhD/Biomedical Engineering as well as a postdoctoral certificate from the Institute for Retraining in Computer Science [IFRICS] and held faculty positions at Vassar College, Boston University, Brown University, and Roger Williams University.
Joel had a real passion for music, mathematics, and history in that order.
He played clarinet and saxophone in high school, studied organ and harpsichord in college, eventually adding many other early instruments in addition to his beautiful singing voice.
For many years, Joel was an avid sailor and member of the Edgewood Yacht Club, captaining a spunky West White Potter and finally a beautiful Cape Dory (27 foot). He loved the outdoors off the water as well, particularly birding, and was a participant in many bird-related events such as Century Day.
As a man proud of his Jewish heritage, he valued the Jewish education he had received as a young man in Bangor and never stopped studying a wide range of Jewish topics, both historical and contemporary.
The consummate Renaissance man, in retirement Joel pursued his long-standing fascination for navigational mathematics and the "practical" mathematics of the 17th and 18th centuries, writing dozens of papers and conference presentations. This led him to be invited to consult on the mathematics and surveying-related material in the papers of George Washington which are being edited by the University of Virginia Press.
Whether among fellow Jews, musicians, mathematicians, historians, sailors, birders, or just intellectually curious folk, Joel was noted for his steadfastness and compassion as a friend. Once he adopted you as a friend, you could count on his affectionate support and subtle, wry humor forever.
Gifts in Joel's memory may be made to The Audubon Society of Rhode Island,
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, August 14th in Providence, RI.
For a full obituary, see
Published on August 13, 2019


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4 posts

Gary Slep
Aug 17, 2019
August 17th

My condolences on the death of your brother, Joel. Because of age differences, I did not know Joel or you from our Bangor days, but I did know your family, Jerry Less, Beattie Kaskin, and Sam and Ida Less. My parents were very close friends with the Less and Raben families (of which I am a member).

I did share something with Joel, however. I was a colonel in the BHS ROTC program, regimental commander, and a marksman on the ROTC rifle team, like Joel, but graduated in 1959. I too studied engineering in college and have participated for years in the annual Christmas bird count for Massachusetts.

I remember going to the Less cabin at Eddington over the years with m
...y parents, sisters Toby (Hartman) and Sharon (Feinberg), and brother David. Your grandparents were wonderful people. They are all missed.Read more
Alex Silverberg
Aug 16, 2019
I had a chance to finally meet Joel at my sister’s wedding last year, and I found him warm, sharp, and engaging. Sounds like he lived life to the fullest and we shared a love of the outdoors.

Toby Slep Hartman
Aug 15, 2019
To Wendy, and to the rest ofJoel’s family, my condolences. I grew up with your family, from grandparents on down in Bangor. I and my brother Gary were a few years older. My brother David and sister Sharon, about your ages. We used to go swimming and picnicking at your grandparents cottage and get together at other times.
I have been out of touch as I now live in CA, but felt a connection again when Sharon mentioned you, and have been going back through a bit of memory lane. It sounds like Joel led a very good life. I am glad for that., but sorry he died so young.
Toby Hartman
Jane O'Loughlin French
Aug 14, 2019 sincere condolences on the loss of your brother. I hope you find peace in the memories of good times and pride in his so many accomplishments.