Joseph Stewart Cash, a longtime Long Island math teacher and World War II veteran who survived the sinking of his ship, died Aug. 2 at Treasure Coast Hospice in Stuart, Fla. He was 87.
Born on Feb. 22, 1926, Cash was raised in Winthrop, Mass. During World War II, he began working on a ship transporting ore at 16. About two months later, the ship was torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat 80 miles north of the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean, family members said.
Cash was one of 25 survivors out of the 36 on board. He spent the next two years in the Merchant Marines and joined the Navy when he turned 18, serving as a boatswain until the war ended, the family said.
"He and the sea just went hand in hand," said a daughter, Katie Hazah of Pocatello, Idaho. "He loved every moment he was on the water."
Cash later enrolled at Northeastern University, where he was a standout football player -- as both a tackle and defensive end -- and captain of the team. In 1997, Cash was inducted into the university's Sports Hall of Fame, according to school records.
At Northeastern, he met his future wife, Vivien Baldwin, the family said.
He graduated in 1953 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He would later earn two master's degrees -- in forensic speech and business.
Cash started his classroom career teaching junior high and high school math. He moved to Smithtown around 1960 and taught at Commack High School, his family said.
In 1969, the family moved to Port Jefferson, where Cash continued to teach and opened Port Jeff Ace, a charter fishing business.
Cash retired in 1980 but his passion for the sea didn't end. He worked first on oil company ships and then shuttling workers to and from Plum Island as a ferryboat captain, family members said. Cash continued working at the family's charter fishing business until his early '80s, even after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
"He just jumped into life and did it," said a son, Roy Cash of Sound Beach.
Vivien Cash died in 1972. In 1986, he married Margie Quinn.
In addition to his wife, son and daughter, survivors include six other sons, Stewart of Mount Sinai; Peter of Miller Place; Bruce of Setauket; and Sean Kevin and Jeffrey, all of Port Jefferson; another daughter, Maggie Cash of Pocatello; 35 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Visitation is Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Bryant Funeral Home at in East Setauket. A funeral Mass will be offered Friday at 10 a.m. at Infant Jesus Catholic Church in Port Jefferson.