Joel Fishman

Joel Fishman

November 20, 1946 - April 7, 2020
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ACTON, MA - Joel Fishman formerly of Rockland, passed away in Chelmsford, MA on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

Joel was born on Nov. 20, 1946 in New York City to Martin and Edith Radlauer Fishman. He lived in the Bronx, NY with his parents and his younger sister, Adele, until 1956 when they made the move to Commack, Long Island. His maternal grandmother, Lillian Radlauer, moved with the family to Long Island and Joel always considered it a privilege to have had his grandmother living with his family until her passing a few years later. He talked frequently of how nice it was living in the Bronx at that time in an apartment house with other relatives in the same building, and how he had two dinners every night: one with his parents and sister, and one with his grandmother and uncle in their apartment.

Joel loved Commack and spent his time after school playing ball, running track, attending Boy Scout events, and making life-long friends. He spent summers at summer camp in New York State and especially loved his Boy Scout camping trips no matter what the weather. Joel’s love for his family and friends made him the caring man that he was, and his quote, “there’s nothing like family” has been repeated by family for years.

Joel graduated from Commack High School in 1965 and made the trek to Bangor, Maine to attend Husson College graduating in 1969 with a degree in Business Administration. In Oct. 1967, he was persuaded to go on a blind date with a girl from the University of Maine, and that was the night he met his future wife, Barbara. Joel and Barbara married on June 15, 1969 in Rockland and moved to New York where they lived for seven years with their two sons, Jeff and Mark. In 1976, the family moved back to Maine to Barbara’s hometown of Rockland where Joel opened his own business, Fabric Bonanza. He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. Joel became very active in Adas Yoshuron Synagogue and spent years on the board serving as president of the congregation for a number of terms. He also organized the Jewish burial society and dedicated himself to helping people when they needed help the most. He was active in scouting in Rockland and served as a baseball coach when his sons were young. He was always there for his family, attending every event his children were involved in, and was always available to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.

Joel loved to ride a bike, and in the late 1990’s he took up bike riding with a passion. He and his friend, Dana Goldsmith, would meet every morning at 6:00 am for a ride together, unless it was below 32 degrees. They decided that they were the lucky ones who could be out riding around Midcoast Maine, enjoying the beauty of the area, and climbing the hills on their bikes.

Joel was a member of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and started a fundraising bike ride in Rockland called the “Lobster Ride and Roll”. He also became a licensed instructor in biking safety and taught children in the area schools how to be safe on their bicycles. He loved meeting children in local stores who would say to him, “You’re the bike man!” Parents would thank him for teaching their children about bike safety, and he would smile from ear to ear.

Joel rode his bicycle in an AIDS fundraiser from Boston to New York City and another time in a fundraiser from New York City to Washington, DC. He rode the Trek Across Maine twenty times and participated in many other charity rides.

After thirty years in business, Joel and Barbara retired. Joel enjoyed bike riding more than ever. He and Barbara traveled to Italy three times with Dave and Suzan Theriault so that Joel and Dave could ride their bikes in organized rides around different parts of Italy.

Joel and Barbara traveled to Europe a number of times visiting Israel, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Canada, and many parts of the United States. In recent years they particularly enjoyed trips to the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks, Yosemite, Mount Rushmore, and Niagara Falls. Joel had always wanted to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, and he finally fulfilled that desire not too many years ago. Joel’s favorite place on earth was Acadia National Park, where he rode his bicycle up and down Cadillac Mountain countless times. He appreciated the beauty of nature and loved his adopted state of Maine. He could put on a real Maine accent and considered living in Maine a great honor.

In 2017, Joel and Barbara moved to Acton, MA where they settled into a new home and made many new friends. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June 2019 back in Rockland where they had been married.

Joel leaves behind a reputation of generosity, charity, hard work, and love for family and friends.

Joel was predeceased by his parents, Edith and Martin Fishman, his sister, Adele Fishman Miller, and his in-laws Samuel and Ruth Small. He is survived by his wife, Barbara of Acton, MA; his sons, Jeffrey and his wife Mindy of Acton, MA, Mark and his wife Pamela of Weston, FL; and his four grandchildren, Alexa and Evan Fishman of Acton, MA, and Grant and Brooke Fishman of Weston, FL. He is also survived by many relatives and friends.

Joel was buried at the Berliawsky-Small Cemetery in Rockland, and a celebration of his life will be held at a later date. The family thanks Rabbi Lily Solochek of Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland for her support and guidance at this difficult time.

The family asks that anyone who wishes may make a donation in Joel’s memory to Hilarity for Charity, a charity started by Joel’s niece and nephew which helps families caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, ( or to Adas Yoshuron Synagogue, PO Box, 1250, Rockland, Maine 04841.

Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Berliawsky-Small Cemetery
    Upper Park Street
    Rockland, ME 04841
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Linda Libbey

Posted at 01:48pm
Barbara, just found out about Joel’s passing. So very sad and sorry for your loss. So fortunate that you have family and your faith to help you through. Joel was such an upbeat, friendly person who truly loved life. Prayers for you and your family and much love to you, my friend.
Linda Monteith Libbey


Posted at 09:29am
Dear Fishman family, Although it was only a short time since first meeting you all, it was wonderful getting to know you and Joel. Beautiful write up on his life! Please know I am thinking of you all at this difficult time. Mindy (Atrium)

Robert Poole

Posted at 04:30pm
I always looked forward to and enjoyed seeing Joel for an eye exam. I considered it more of a fun visit than an appointment. Wonderful man with a great smile and upbeat personality. Condolences to the family.

Janet McMahon

Posted at 06:57pm
Dear Barbara and family very sad to read Joel had passed Remember his smile and always ready to help attitude in the fabric store as well as on a bike Jan McMahon

Christine Sheehan

Posted at 03:49pm
We are very saddened by the passing of Joel. We met him here in Acton three years ago, and were immediately struck by his open and friendly manner. He will be greatly missed by all of us who had the privilege of spending time in his company. Barbara and family, our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

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