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Former Hoffman International Owner Joe Watters Passes Away

Thu March 09, 2023 - Northeast Edition #6

Joseph F. Watters passed away on March 1, 2023, at the age of 86.
Joseph F. Watters passed away on March 1, 2023, at the age of 86.

Joseph F. Watters of Little Egg Harbor, N.J., passed away on March 1, 2023, with his son, Tim Watters, and his wife of 64 years, Mary Jane, by his side. He was 86.

Mr. Watters was born in 1936 in Montclair, N.J., and attended St. Benedict's High School in Newark, N.J., later graduating in 1958 from St. Peter's College in Jersey City, N.J. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he remained proud of his service, and in his later years enjoyed hosting fellow Marines at an annual golf event and luncheon on the Marine Corps birthday.

Mr. Watters lived many of his years in Verona, N.J., where he and Mary Jane raised their four children. He was a fiercely devoted husband and father and built a home filled with love, laughter, and a steady stream of visiting friends and family who were always welcomed with open arms.

As the owner of Hoffman International Inc., in Piscataway, N.J., Mr. Watters enjoyed a very successful professional career, earning the affection and admiration of countless employees, customers and colleagues. Representing Hoffman in locations across the globe, his passion for travel and intense curiosity of other cultures led to friendships all around the world.

"My father ran our export department at Hoffman for over 30 years, at one time employing a dozen people dedicated to export business," said Tim Watters, president of Hoffman Equipment and son of Joe Watters. "We sold parts, machinery, attachments and related equipment all over the world. We averaged $2.5-$3 million in sales of parts to overseas customers, and what made us different, most of that was sold and delivered was on open account with the relationships managed by my father.

"Nearly everything I know about the export market — how it's done, regulations, payment terms and how to secure payments, shipping terms, letters of credit and more — I learned from my father," he added.

Tim Watters also learned about the importance of service to the customer after the machines are delivered.

"My father always made our ability to perform service in far-away places a key component of our export value proposition, and the same is equally true for the domestic customer," he said. "He stressed the importance of being honest, having integrity, and treating employees as if your business depends on them."

Some of the happiest years of Mr. Watters' later life were spent in Little Egg Harbor where he and his wife maintained an overflowing social calendar, enjoyed countless rounds of golf and nurtured some of the warmest friendships of their lives. Always a community servant, he was delighted also to volunteer his time at the local Habitat for Humanity and Greater Tuckerton Food Pantry.

Mr. Watters' Catholic faith was a lifelong source of great strength. He was a longtime member of both Our Lady of the Lake church in Verona and St. Francis Church on Long Beach Island, N.J. It was on Long Beach Island where he always found relaxation and fun. He loved body surfing in the Atlantic Ocean, welcoming loved ones to his home there and sharing happy days in the sun with his family.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Mary Watters; his son, Captain Michael Watters, USMC; and his brother, Henry Watters Jr. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane; daughter, Terry Crews (Donald), of Cincinnati, Ohio; son, Tim Watters (Patty) of Middletown, N.J.; daughter, daughter Meg Rodriguez (Tony), of Edina, Minn., and brother Reverend William Watters S.J. He also is survived by his seven grandchildren: Kelly, Grace and Laura Watters, and Anna, Tess, Madeline and Michael Rodriguez. He will be remembered by them for his unending kindness, playful humor and deep gratitude for the people who filled his life and the simple joys that filled his days: a morning ocean swim, a perfectly crafted BLT or a dance with Mary Jane to their favorite Frank Sinatra song.

Visitation was held on Monday, March 13, from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Parish: 4700 Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach, NJ 08008. Mass followed at 11a.m. CEG

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