Joseph “Joe” Lee Nassif, Sr., of Chapel Hill, passed away on September 2, 2023. He was 90.
Joe was born on April 6, 1933, in Laurinburg, NC, to the late Charles and Marie Nassif. His family eventually moved to Wilson, NC, where he grew up surrounded by many aunts, uncles, and cousins. After high school, Joe attended the University of Notre Dame where he earned a degree in civil engineering in 1955. During his tenure at Notre Dame, he worked several jobs and played the trombone in the marching band. Many years later, his children enjoyed wearing his Notre Dame letter sweater. After serving four years in the Army, Joe attended North Carolina State University, receiving a degree in Architecture.
In 1964, Joe moved his family to Chapel Hill, where he began his long career as an architect. In Chapel Hill, he became active in local politics, serving on the Orange County Board of Commissioners and the Chapel Hill Board of Alderman; he also served as Mayor of Chapel Hill from 1978 - 1984.
Joe also became active in coaching youth in football with the Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department. His pee-wee football team players enjoyed learning from and playing for Coach Joe. Fast forward many years, and those same players called out to “Coach” when he was spotted downtown.
After retiring from his architectural firm, Joe enjoyed spending time with his family, taking day trips to the beach, watching Notre Dame football, and walking the beautiful UNC campus. He loved reminiscing about political challenges he had faced, the many friends he cherished, and reliving his adventures on Franklin Street when the UNC Men’s Basketball team won the NCAA championship in 1982.
Joe is survived by his partner of thirty years, Carol Oldham; his children, Joseph Jr., Karen Tyner (David), Thomas (Mary), and Susan Taylor (Philip); his grandchildren, William Nassif, John Nassif (Vanessa), Marshall Taylor (Christine), Emily Nassif, and Matthew Nassif; his sister, Martha Zaytoun (Henry); and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins. He was preceded in death by an infant son, John David Nassif.
The family wishes to acknowledge the kindness of the staff at Sunrise of Raleigh and Life Transitions Hospice of Raleigh in their care for Joe.
A Catholic Funeral Mass will be held October 2, 2023, at 2:30 PM, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 940 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. A light reception will immediately follow in the Church’s Friends and Family Hall. A private interment will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 940 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
Walker's Funeral Home of Chapel Hill is assisting the Nassif family.