Joe saw a need and fixed it.

That’s how one longtime resident remembered Joseph Gonsalves – entrepreneur, philanthropist and proud son of Mansfield, Mass., who died Dec. 12, the Easton Journal reported.

He was 84.

It seems everyone has a story about the man with a “heart of gold” and boundless generosity.

Ken Butler had just returned home from New York in 1993 with a dream of opening his own theater when he got word that “Joe wants you to give him a call.”

The Mansfield native knew Gonsalves by reputation and headed over to his Canoe River Campground to meet the man.

“He said, ‘Ken I know you’re starting a theater and I was wondering how I could help you.’ Then he wrote a check for $1,000. It was a sizable amount for the time,” Butler, executive director of the Mansfield Music & Arts Society, recalled.

Last year, he donated the new gazebo that graces North Common.

“He’s a grand and wonderful man,” Town Manager William Ross said at the time.

Gonsalves’ wife Emma was her husband’s true partner in life and shared in all his endeavors, including founding the campground they both loved. The East Mansfield landmark is family-run 40 years later.

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