In Loving Memory of
Commander Joseph G. Procopio, USN (Ret.)
May 1, 1940 – December 22, 2023
“Joe Pro” was a loving father and grandfather, and lived a life of service to his country and community. We invite you to join us at a memorial service celebrating his life.
February 19, 2024 at 2:00 pm
James R. Sullivan Events Center
Douglas County Fairgrounds
500 Fairgrounds Dr.
Castle Rock, CO 80104
Reception to Follow
Joseph Guydon Procopio, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Procopio, passed away on December 22, 2023, at the age of 83. Joe Pro, as he was known, grew up in Singac New Jersey, graduating from Passaic Valley High School in 1958. He was a student athlete competing and lettering in many sports, a staple in the theater program, and active in student government and class president his senior year. Joe was also active in the community and a member of the Boy Scouts. As an Eagle Scout, he earned the Silver Award, the highest award in Explorer Scouting. Joe recently attended his 65th high school reunion.
In 1958 he received an appointment to the US Naval Academy. While at the Academy he was involved with the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference, served on the Brigade Activities and Hospitality Committees, and participated in intramural sports, including battalion football. The Academy is also where his love of lacrosse began. Upon graduation he was appointed an Ensign in the United States Navy.
Joe was a proud veteran having served 3 combat tours in Southeast Asia, the last as an advisor to the Vietnamese and Cambodian Joint General Staffs. Joe continued his service to the Cambodian people throughout his life.
As a surface warfare officer, he served in Destroyers and as XO of the Minesweeper USS Conflict, taking it from 15th to 1st in his first year, placing 2nd in the Burke Award (most improved ship in the Pacific), winning the Ney Award (Best Culinary Service), and having the highest reenlistment rate in the Pacific. He also served as XO of USS Barney (DDG-6), representing the USN in the NATO squadron.
He spent 52 months in Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (in OP 96, the so-called “Navy Whiz Kids”), managing the CNO study program and regularly briefing the CNO. During his last assignment he accompanied Adm Hays to CincUSNavEur in London where he established a strategy group, working directly for the Admiral.
His military awards included the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service medal, three awards of the Joint Service Commendation medal, Navy Achievement medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Cambodian Croix d’ Guerre, Vietnam Honor medal first class, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm.
In 1983 he retired from the Navy and served as Senior Scientist, General Counsel, and Secretary of Presearch Inc. Later he was Corprate Vice President of ERC International, working directly for both the Chairman/CEO and the President/COO.
In 1998 ,Joe Pro moved to Castle Rock, Colorado, where he passed his love of learning onto a younger generation by substitute teaching in the Douglas County school system, and regularly giving presentations on a wide variety of topics as a classroom guest speaker.
Joe Pro was a founding member of the lacrosse program at Castle View High School in 2006. He coached high school and youth lacrosse for years in the community. Joe continued to be a presence on the sidelines as recently as last spring. His love of the game was instrumental in propelling two of his grandsons on to college lacrosse. On January 10th of this year, Castle View lacrosse program announced that two of their lacrosse fields will now be known as “Joe Pro Memorial Fields.”
Continuing his legacy of service, Joe was active in the town of Castle Rock serving on the town council and as Mayor Pro Tem from 2012 to 2014. He also served Douglas County on the county Planning Commission, the Public Works Commission, Denver Regional Governments Commission, the Public Safety Commission, the Veteran’s Memorial Working Group and as a member of the board of the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Joe was instrumental in bringing Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, Arapahoe Community College, and other businesses to town. In 2015 he was named Douglas County Citizen of the Year.
Joe served as President of the Naval Academy Alumni Association of Colorado, and of the Naval League of Denver. In addition, he was a member of the Merit Selection Committee for Service Academy Nominations for Senator Mark Udall.
Joe was very involved in the spiritual community in Colorado. He was one of the founding members of Emmaus Anglican Church and instrumental in securing their church location. He was a member of the church council, keeper of the kitchen supplies, and the penultimate St. Nicholas every December decked in full regalia telling St. Nick’s story to the congregation and distributing gold coins and chocolates to the children at the service.
Joe was life long learner. He held a BS from the USNA, as well as many graduate degrees including an MS, JD, MBA, and an LL.M. He continued his learning adventures in his retirement becoming an accomplished chef, taking professional cooking courses around the world. His last pursuit was learning the guitar.
His family would be honored for all to attend his memorial service on at 2 pm on February 19, 2024, at the James R. Sullivan Event Center at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock. The Fair Foundation Board has graciously donated the space for his memorial in his honor for his service as a Director on the Douglas County Fair Foundation Board since 2012.
For those who would like to make a donation in honor of Joe Pro, a scholarship fund is being established for student lacrosse athletes. Details will be forthcoming.
He is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Tyler Lahey and her husband Matthew David Lahey. His son, Joseph Christian Procopio and his wife Kelly Cathleen. Six grandchildren: Tyler Jamison Lahey, Emmerson Albright Lahey, Brayden Graeson Lahey, Leah Ann Procopio, Nicole Ann Procopio, and Allysa Ann Procopio. As well as his step-children Julie Levy and Tim Schmeider. He was predeceased by brothers Russell, West Point ‘71 and William, a Navy Sonar Technician.