Joseph “Joe” Benedict Tockarshewsky, 80, of Poughkeepsie, passed peacefully on Thursday, August 27, 2020. Born in Greenwich Village, New York on January 11, 1940, he was the eldest son of the late Joseph William Tockarshewsky and Domicielle Stankus Parascak. Joe was a national commercial real estate lending and appraisal expert who lectured and published extensively, an accomplished bank executive, and a Hudson Valley real estate investor. He often shared his stories of growing up in Manhattan during the 1950s/60s, saying it was on those streets that his ambition was born.
Known as a mentor, trusted advisor, colorful storyteller, champion for the arts and community organizations, a passionate advocate for the Poughkeepsie/Mid-Hudson Valley area, and above all a loyal friend and devoted family man, he was a graduate of Cardinal Hayes High School, NYU School of Commerce, Pace University Graduate School of Business (MBA), and Harvard’s Program for Management Development (PMD). His biggest real estate professional pride was authoring the book “Construction Lending: Financing the Creation of Value and Entrepreneurship”—despite what his college English professors said… He was one of the original founders of/assistant adjunct professor at the Real Estate Institute of NYU (now Shack Institute).
No goal was too large, no burden too heavy, and no challenge too overcoming: when Joe put his head and heart into something, he made it happen. Joe began his career at Cruickshank Company in New York City as an appraiser (where he met wife Margret, married in 1963, and was happily married for 47 years). In 1964, he joined Irving Trust Company (NY) as a Sr. Lending Officer, VP and Manager. His financing work led to the new construction of many of Manhattan’s now recognizable skyscrapers around Rockefeller Center (and tales of enjoying the ride…and view…on building construction elevators). Because he knew how to work out problem loans during a troubled period in New York City, in 1977 he was recognized by the Real Estate Board of NY as their “Young Man of the Year.”
He went on to First Federal Savings & Loan Association (NY) as Sr. Lending Officer and Director and Carteret Savings & Loan Association (NJ) as Exec. VP and Sr. Real Estate Lending Officer. In 1987, he moved to Washington, D.C. to join American Security Bank as Exec. VP and Manager of the Real Estate division (sr. management and credit committees), where he led the bank’s community development efforts to revitalize D.C. capitol area neighborhoods and encourage major commercial development.
In 1992, joined the Poughkeepsie Savings Bank, the area’s oldest financial institution, as Chairman, President, CEO, and Director. At the time, Joe was brought in to avert the near collapse of the institution. Within 18 months, he worked with the bank team and the community to not only see the bank emerge from its crisis, but also contribute to the economic resurgence of the region. Through it all, he always put the emphasis on “We,” telling the Poughkeepsie Journal, “I’m a staunch believer in the theory that if your people don’t believe in what they’re doing, they’re not going to do it very well. My management style has always been geared toward putting the right team together, then helping them get the job done.” Within five years of coming to town, he became one of the most dedicated and influential contributors to the region’s economic recovery, taking a “roll-up-your-sleeves and solve-the-problem” approach for both business and community organization efforts. For his work, he was recognized by the Poughkeepsie Journal as the 1997 Business Person of the Year. He was also given the Friend of the Arts Award in 1998 by Mill Street Loft for his vision and commitment to the Arts in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
He told those he mentored that these awards were the second most important legacy of his accomplishments—the first being his family. His family and his marriage were and always will be his greatest legacy.
He shared his professional expertise nationally via the American Bankers Association (Chair-Commercial Real Estate Lending Committee), Robert Morris Association (Chair, Real Estate and Construction Lending Committee), the Mortgage Bankers Association, the NY Mortgage Bankers Association (President), and the Real Estate Board of NY. Additionally, he served as a board member for Peckham Industries, Inc. and Market Street Mortgage. After the bank’s sale and his retirement from banking, he was a real estate investor/developer in the Hudson Valley.
His belief in community involvement—serving and enhancing his community—was the cornerstone of his drive and achievement. He was a consummate advocate for seeing the Poughkeepsie/Mid-Hudson Valley area thrive, channeling his energy through service with: The Foundation for Vassar Brothers Hospital (President), Hudson Valley Philharmonic (President), City of Poughkeepsie Partnership (Chair), Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetary (Board), Mill Street Loft/The Art Effect (Board), Poughkeepsie Area Chamber of Commerce, Poughkeepsie Waterfront Advisory Committee, Dutchess County Economic Development Corp., Dutchess County YMCA, Hudson Valley Foodworks, Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress, and Potential Unlimited.
He relished being called “Mr. T.”, and was also known as “Dad” to others whose lives he touched. With a zest for life and a hunger for learning, he was a voracious reader who enjoyed new experiences and savored his time spent on woodworking, building (especially birdhouses), fishing, hunting (worldwide), gardening, farming, skiing, boating and cooking.
In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by his wife Margret Agnes Tockarshewsky and his brother Donald Thomas Tockarshewsky. He leaves behind a daughter Tina Marie Tockarshewsky and son-in-law Dragan Ivanov Bubalo, brother Benedict Joseph with wife Marie, and grandchildren Lidia Constance, Gabriel Jean, Martin Leonard, and Jelena. His extended family will miss him deeply, as will all those who knew him and who will always be grateful for his love, care, and mentorship.
The family would like to thank Susan Ore and Daniel Adigun for their caregiving, compassion, and humor in the final weeks of Joe’s life: your care extended his quality of life and helped to sustain the family.
Visitation will be Wednesday, September 2, from 6:30-8:30 pm at William G. Miller & Son Funeral Home, 371 Hooker Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY. Burial mass will be Thursday, September 3, at 10:00 am at Church of the Holy Trinity, 775 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, NY, followed by burial at Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery, 342 South Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY. If you wish to send an online condolence please visit our website at www.wmgmillerfuneralhome.com
Memorials may be made to the Abbey of Regina Laudis, 273 Flanders Road, Bethlehem, CT 06751 or The Foundation for Vassar Brothers Medical Center, 45 Reade Place, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.