Chief Marshals of the 237th Celebration
Joe & Rosa DaPonte

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April 5, at the Burnside Building, Chuck MacDonough announced the Chief Marshals for the 237th consecutive celebration.

Please extend congratulations to Joe and Rosa DaPonte as we welcome them to the Fourth of July Chief Marshal family.

Our 237th Chief Marshals Joe and Rosa DaPonte both immigrated to Bristol from the Azores over forty years ago, they both have become part of the many communities of Bristol and have had a meaningful impact in the lives of many of us.  They both have an infectious smile, an exuberance for life, are kind, and involved in many facets of our community and always have a story to tell, typically where we will be laughing at the end of it.


Joe was born in Sao Miguel, in 1956, growing up and working on the family farm, he was the older brother to his brother Fransico and sister Maria. His day started at 5 AM, milking cows, collecting eggs, and many other chores on the farm, to only finish in time to go to school.


Rosa was born in Sao Miguel, in 1961, one of six children, from the town of Cabouco Da Lagoa. They both became US Citizens in 2011.


Seeking opportunity in 1973, Joe at the age of 17 and his family immigrated to the US and with ‘family’ already in Bristol, it was an ‘easy’ choice.  He arrived on a Sunday night and began working the following Monday morning at Robin Rug.  Working both the 1st and 2nd shifts to help support the family and going to school at night to learn English. After 2 years he went to work for the construction group at Cumberland Farms, and eventually came back to work in Bristol, at the Converse Factory until the factory closed. 


Joe found his next opportunity at Pearson Yacht, where his father was working and in 1980, while on a trip to Sao Miguel he met the woman that would be his wife, and within six months, she had immigrated to Bristol, and they were married in Jan of 1981.


After spending 7 years at Pearson, where he had developed a passion for boat building , he learned some of his craft by bringing the blueprints home, and after working for some well-known boat builders, like Clarke Ryder and Albin Marine.  He decided it was time to follow his dream and start their own company, so in April of 1998 they opened a 4000 square ft building on Metacom Ave. Quickly outgrowing that space, they moved to a 12,000 square ft building on Franklin St. In 2005 they bought some land and built a larger complex where they are still growing a successful boat building business.


Along the way, they had two sons, Cesar in 1982 and Craig in 1992, and both now working alongside their parents at the company.  In 1982, Rosa was working, and focused on raising their boys until 1998, when they started operating their business.


Parishioners of St. Elizabeth’s Church since moving to Bristol, they have been involved in the church.  He was one of the founders of the Holy Ghost Feast with additional honors:


  • Man of the Year for the Amigos do Pico Da Pedra.

  • VP and President of Santissima Trindade and also in charge of the live stock which raises money for St. Elizabeth Church.

  • He was the primary driver for building the float for St Elizabeth Church’s 100th year anniversary float which was voted “best in parade” during the 2014 Bristol 4th of July Parade.

  • Former Member of Don Luis Filipe

  • Current member of Portuguese cultural and recreation club of Warren


Over the years they have hosted the Domingas multiple times. St. Elizabeth is even where the boys went to school.


His hobbies include fishing, golfing, and spending time with his family. 


Her hobbies include cooking, gardening, boating and helping in fund raising events at Church.


Both love to cook, and usually spend a day in July hosting a pig roast, they both enjoy having friends and family together and always have a good time.


The company they built together was recognized for building two “Boats of the Year” as the North American Builder for J/Boats.  First by “Sailing World “ in 2013 for building the J70, and in 2021 by “Cruising World “ for building the J/95.  Today they focus on their own brand of boats, have about 11 different models and have recently launched their largest model.  They built their business around building quality boats. They are seen as one of the foremost, innovative, authorities in composite boat building and tool making. Their passion for the sea is founded in their Portuguese heritage. They both love to work with their family, building better boats every day, and during the summer months he can be found fishing on them, while she is in the garden.


Their story is unique, it inspires, it is truly an American Dream story that many people come here to seek, and through their hard work, and perseverance they have become an integral part of the communities of Bristol and the United States of America.