Joseph R. Oldfield of Greenland, NH, former Executive Vice President of Photographic Imaging at Polaroid died peacefully on August 30, 2018, surrounded by family. He was 78. Born in Leechburg, Pennsylvania, in 1940, to Stella Guagnano Oldfield, a second-generation Italian-American, and Sidney "Buck" Oldfield, a WWII veteran and a local pharmacist, Joe showed an aptitude for engineering and a fascination with all things electrical from an early age. At ten, he installed a television antenna on the roof of his parents' house and wired toggle switches to control lights and gadgets from his bed. Joe attended Carnegie Tech where he studied electrical engineering, lived in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and embodied Carnegie's motto: "Our Heart is in the Work." He went on to earn an MBA from Purdue and soon after married his beloved Karen Thomsen from Westfield, New Jersey, a classmate from Carnegie. On their honeymoon Karen introduced Joe to the second great love of his life: Long Island, Maine. This was to be the place they would spend every summer of their 55 year marriage, working on a series of home building and improvement projects and hosting countless gatherings of family and friends.
The newlyweds moved to Greenville, Ohio, where Joe began his first management job at Corning Glass and discovered his passion for manufacturing. Here, in their first home, he embarked on his first do-it-yourself projects, creating anything that Karen could design. A few years later he accepted a position at Polaroid near Boston, where they could be closer to Long Island. Joe enjoyed a 30-year career at Polaroid, much of which was spent as a senior officer of the company.
Joe and Karen made their family home in Wayland, Massachusetts. In 1979, they moved with their children to Ireland for four years while Joe built and operated a Polaroid film factory in Kildare. Warm connections with friends in Ireland are maintained by the family to this day.
After leaving Polaroid, Joe had a number of other positions. He was CEO of Carr Separations, and SeptiTech before retiring in 2002. When Joe's son-in-law, Patrick, approached him about joining Seabrook International, a precision machining company in New Hampshire, Joe came out of retirement for a second career. Joe brought his vast experience in manufacturing to help redefine Seabrook as a successful medical technology company.
Long Island became Joe's main focus later in life where he joined the Long Island Civic Association, the Finance Committee, led the Long Island Community Center Revitalization Project and loved hosting fundraising events at their home. His family and community continued to grow and expand from Long Island, to Ireland, New Zealand, and Samoa. Describing his family he would say, "We are island people." Living on the island Joe was rarely idle. He enjoyed landscaping on his tractor, ferrying people across the bay on his motorboat, and running errands in his golf cart. A trip to the island transfer station could take two hours because Joe loved to stop and talk with neighbors along the way. Joe survived and thrived with advanced colon cancer for over six years astonishing his doctors, family and friends. He viewed cancer as a hard but not impossible challenge. His strength inspired friends and acquaintances who were also coping with the disease. His children knew that Joe was nearing the end when recently he admitted, "I'm thinking of selling the boat." In August Joe celebrated his final birthday at home on the island with his loved-ones, sharing food and laughter. Joe is survived by his wife Karen Thomsen Oldfield, his daughter Jane Oldfield-Spearman and her husband, Patrick Spearman of Exeter, NH, a son, Eric Oldfield and his wife, Lucy Tupu, of New York, NY, and a son David Oldfield, of Somerville, MA. Joe is also survived by his sister, Mary Ann Oldfield, five grandchildren, a niece, a nephew, a grand-niece and grand-nephew.
Saturday, September 22 12:00 PM Long Island Community Center Long Island, ME 04050
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
Changing Tides Foundation772 Island AvenueLong Island, ME 04050
The Long Island Community Center Revitalization Project (LICCRP)P. O. Box 263Long Island, ME 04050.
For further information, call Jane at 603-918-0624