Joseph W. Mazes
Born: February 13, 1916
Hometown: Ashland, Wisconsin
Job aboard: Special Maintenance Man
Biographical information: Joseph W. Mazes, special maintenance man onboard the Fitz when it sank, was born on February 13, 1916 in Ashland, Wisconsin to Josephine and Anthony Mazes. His father died while he was still in grade school. where he was raised and lived for his entire life. He had no children and no wife, but he did have four siblings: John, Louis, and Stella, and one other who died in the 1950's. Joseph loved his siblings very much, and is remembered by his nieces and nephews for the time he spent with them, bringing candy, popcorn, and anything that made kids smile over to his siblings house. His niece Carol Ross recalls him as "always being over at our house when he was not on the Fitzgerald."
During his free time, Joseph LOVED to fish...it was his first love. When he was not on the Great Lakes, (he only got a break for 2 months out of the year) he was usually ice fishing all winter long between visits with his siblings and their children. "He also liked to hunt for deer and snowmobile," as his nephew, Joe Sajdak, recalls.
Joseph Mazes was a very kind man who loved to give his family gifts; he was very generous all of the time, even though he was only home two months out of the year. Joseph sailed on the Great Lakes for thirty years, and the season that the Edmund Fitzgerald sailed in 1975 was going to be his last. He looked forward to his retirement. One interesting thing that relatives remember is Jugsy always said he was afraid of Captain Ernest McSorley. "McSorley would never pull out of a storm," and "he always put the ship in conditions that no one would ever think of," were the words he remembered. Joseph Mazes loved his job, but took it very seriously, saving another crewman's life at one point. The crewman fell overboard, and Mazes actually grabbed him by the hair and pulled him back on board. Besides a headache, the crewman had been saved and was not injured.