Joseph M. Brito (91) was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, son of the late Ceasar Brito and Georgiana Travers Brito. He died on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013.
Joseph, or “Joe Sr.” as he is often called, had three sons, Joseph M., Michael S. and the late C. Patrick Brito; two daughters, Audrey B. Field and Mary B. Fitzgerald Doyle; two stepchildren, Beth and Ted Engell; 11 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He was the husband of the late Joan Cranwell Brito and the former husband of the late Audrey P. Brito. The Britos resided on Poppasquash Road in Bristol and were parishioners of St. Elizabeth’s Church.
Mr. Brito attended Bristol schools and graduated from Colt Memorial High School in 1942. During his high school days, he was a member of the Colt football team. Following graduation, Mr. Brito enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a diving instructor for the amphibious forces at Fort Pierce, Fla. He was later assigned to the 7th Beach Battalion, where he remained until being honorably discharged in 1946.
After returning to Bristol, Joseph joined his father, Ceasar, in the family landscaping business and gradually expanded the business into utility construction work. Later, joined by his son, Joseph M. Brito Jr., and as of late, his grandson Christopher, four generations of family worked to develop the company into one of the largest utility contracting firms in New England. As the president of C. Brito Construction Co., Joseph had directed the installation of water, sewer and gas mains throughout the New England states.
Joseph was president of Brito Enterprises Inc., C. B. Utility Co., Inc. and C. Brito Construction Co., Inc. He actively developed real estate, including the 1776/Stop and Shop Plaza and the 82-unit Courtyard at Metacom Condominiums. His business accomplishments have led to appointments as a corporator of Citizens Bank, an advisory board member of Fleet National Bank (now known as Bank of America) and a Board of Directors position at Encore Wire Corporation in Dallas, Texas.
Further, Joseph served as a regional vice president of the National Utility Contractors Association, administrative vice president of the Rhode Island Utility Contractors Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Road Builders Association. He held memberships in the National Utility Contractors Association, the Utility Contractors Association of New England and the Utility Contractors of Rhode Island.
In addition to his professional work, Joseph actively participated in community affairs. In 1965 he was chairman of the March of Dimes Drive and in 1976 and 1978 he chaired the YMCA Century Club Drives. Mr. Brito served as vice president of the Board of Directors of the Bristol YMCA and on its building committee. In 1980 and 1982, Joseph served as chairman of the Yachtsmen’s Ball to benefit the Bristol YMCA. In 1982, he served as the Chief Marshal of the Bristol Fourth of July Celebration.
Mr. Brito was a member of the President’s Council of Salve Regina University, Newport; a member of the Board of Governors of the Mount Hope Farm Trust in Bristol; a member of the Board of Trustees at Roger Williams University, where he also received an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration. He was an advisor to the Consulate of Portugal in Providence, Rhode Island; and a member of the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the United States.
In 1993, he was made an honorary member of the Portuguese Beneficial Association Dom Luiz Filipe Society of Bristol, RI. Among his charitable contributions are the United Way, the Annual Fund of Roger Williams University, Vision of Hope and St. Elizabeth’s Church.
Funeral services from Mt. Hope Farm, 250 Metacom Ave., Bristol, are at 10 a.m., Saturday Dec. 28, with a Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. at St. Elizabeth’s Church, 577 Wood St., Bristol. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Chestnut Street, Bristol.
Visiting hours are at Mt. Hope Farm, 250 Metacom Ave., Bristol on Friday, Dec. 27, from 4 to 8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Brito’s memory to “The Friends of the Bristol Animal Shelter” and may be sent to The Friends of the Bristol Animal Shelter, 11 Broad Common Road, Unit 155, Bristol, RI 02809.