Joel Silverberg, 73


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Joel Stephen Silverberg, 73, died Aug. 11. He was the loving husband and best friend 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 to be a Mainer and a Bangor boy. That rock-solid start coupled with intellectual curiosity in abundance helped him earn four degrees from Brown University in music and in engineering and go on to teach at prestigious institutions such as Vassar and Boston University.

He was equally proud of his Jewish heritage, valuing the Jewish education he had received as a young man in Bangor and never ceasing to study a wide range of Jewish topics, both historical and contemporary.

Among Joel’s many pursuits: a highly accomplished musician who sang and played both modern and early instruments sometimes in ensembles he formed and led; an avid sailor; an enthusiastic birder and naturalist; and an historical researcher in mathematics of the 17th and 18th centuries, particularly related to navigation and surveying, including work as consultant on the papers of George Washington.

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.

Joel supported many worthy causes throughout his life, but he is certainly smiling as we ask you to do something that is strictly “for the birds”: gifts in memory of Joel may be made to The Audubon Society of Rhode Island,