Photo taken when Joseph Andrews was still alive. [2016, Dunlap]
Joseph Andrews (1920-2019), one of the town’s leading boatbuilders, was born in Provincetown on 28 January 1920 to Jesse (Andrade) Andrews (1876-1933) and Victoria (Rezendes) Andrews (1892-1968), according to the family’s notice on CurrentObituary, from which this article is taken. He was married for 52 years to Virginia (West) Andrews (1924-1998).
While in high school, Andrews learned his craft at Furtado’s Boatyard, 99 Commercial Street, run by Manuel “Ti Manuel” Furtado (1879-1945). During World War II, Andrews worked at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in Bristol, R.I., alongside another Furtado alumnus, Francis “Flyer” Santos (1914-2015), before joining the Navy in 1942. Andrews served two tours in the Pacific Theater aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Cowpens, which was battered by Typhoon Cobra (or Halsey’s Typhoon) in December 1944. He wore a Cowpens cap until his final days.
After returning to town in 1946, Andrews married Virginia West (1924-1998). They would be together 52 years, until her death. Their surviving children were Victoria (Andrew) Mendes, who married Paul Mendes; Deborah (Andrews) McGonnell, who married John McGonnell; David Andrews, who married Charles Edwards; and Michael Andrews, who married Maria.
His boatbuilding career found him both at Flyer’s Boatyard, 131A Commercial Street, and at Taves Boatyard next door, at 129R Commercial Street. “He excelled at engine repair,” the family obituary said. “Joe could build or fix almost anything. Over the years, he rebuilt his home and also did much work at the homes of his children, building bookshelves, leveling floors, building a shed, and even a doghouse. He also built several toy boats for his children and grandchildren as well as three scale models of his sailboat Ranger.”
Ranger is a 26-foot sloop, built in 1907 or 1908. Andrews and Santos owned it jointly until it was badly damaged during Hurricane Carol in 1954, after which Andrews assumed sole ownership. He rebuilt the boat in his garage at 28 Conant Street and relaunched it in 1960. Andrews raced Ranger in weekly contests sponsored by the Provincetown Yacht Club. In 2015, after Ranger had been languishing on a trailer in the driveway of his home for too long, Andrews gave the boat to Santos, who rebuilt it anew.
He was one of the founding members in 1950 of the West End Racing Club, 83 Commercial. Far from a snooty-type yacht club, the West End organization teaches local children how to swim and sail.
Andrews’s other career was as a volunteer fighter for 29 years, assigned to Pumper House No. 1, 117 Commercial Street. He was the pumper company’s engineer. And he played guitar and accordion with the company’s Linguiça Band.
After his retirement in 1980, Joe gladly took on the role as one of the town’s leading historians. His recollections were notable both for pinpoint accuracy and lack of embellishment. If Andrews didn’t know the answer to a question, he would say so. But what he recalled, he conveyed in depth. My Building Provincetown project profited enormously from his guidance.
The Town presented Andrews with that decidedly mixed blessing — the Boston Post Cane — in October 2018, designating him as Provincetown’s oldest registered voter. He died three months later, on his 99th birthday, at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.
Joseph Andrews in his kitchen at 28 Conant Street. [2016, Dunlap]
• CurrentObituary, 28 January 2019, No. 229552.
• Find a Grave Memorial No. 139268977.
¶ Last updated on 9 December 2021.