31 Dec

Housatonic CC Director Killed in Florida Car Crash


Bridgeport, CT. Word has been received that Housatonic Community College Acting Director of Education Technology Jose Labrador was killed in a car crash in Miami, Florida, on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

Also in the car was Labrador’s wife, Gisela Gil-Egui, a member of Fairfield University faculty, and her mother and brother. Jose Labrador and his wife were residents of Bridgeport.

Labrador, 52 years of age, had been a member of the HCC staff since 2007. He was currently responsible for HCC’s online education and the primary source of support for the program. He was an alumnus of the Art Institute of Philadelphia with a Bachelor of Science degree and was currently working on a Master’s degree.

Dr. Paul Broadie, HCC president, stated, “Jose was a beloved member of the Housatonic community and an asset to our institution. In a kind and gentle way, he touched and influenced the individuals he came in contact with. At this sad time, Jose’s family are in our thoughts and prayers. This is a very tragic loss for the whole Housatonic community. We will hold a Memorial for Jose at the college once the Spring term commences.”

Dr. William Brown, HCC Acting Dean of Academic Affairs, said, “I don’t have the words to express how saddened I am at the death of our colleague and friend, Jose Labrador. Beyond being an amazing resource and support for all of our students, faculty and staff, Jose was simply a good patient, and kind man. We have lost someone special.”

For additional photos and information, please click here.


  • posted by Erika Vogel Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:33

    I am deeply saddened by this tragic news of Jose's passing. I saw him on Monday to learn about additional blackboard applications for my courses. Jose was always most helpful, kind, patient and encouraging. I shall miss him as a colleague, mentor,
    and a friend.

    Erika Vogel

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  • posted by Driss Mellouk Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:33

    I am still in shock! I still can believe that the man I just spoke with the last day of finals and made plans to meet with after his vacation to help me, as always he did, in learning more about how to efficiently use Blackboard for my courses. I will miss him not just as a colleague, but as a true friend. All my thoughts are with his family.


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  • posted by Heidi Szobota Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:32

    He has touched us all in many ways with his patient, willing help, knowledge, and kindness. He will be missed.

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  • posted by Michele Cohen Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:31

    I just received the devastating news about Jose and his family.
    His kindness, patience with colleagues, especially someone like myself, cannot be replaced.
    He was truly one of a kind. So approachable, and helpful.
    I will miss his voice and encouragement.
    There will be a large void at H.C.C. He will truly be missed.
    Michele Cohen

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  • posted by Donald Rogers Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:29

    As an adjunct, I shared the office one door down from Jose's Distance Learning suite, and passed him frequently in the hallway for some pleasant conversation. He was friendly and warmhearted and helpful, and always made me feel welcome and valued at the college. The news of his demise with his family in such a horrible way is shocking, indeed. We will surely miss his positive presence. My heart goes out in sympathy to his surviving family and to Housatonic colleagues who him well.

    Donald Rogers
    Adjunct Lecturer in History

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  • posted by Shelley S. Tomey Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:28

    Dear Colleagues,

    As I read your beautiful memories of Jose I am moved to share my own as I hope that as you read my memories you may feel some comfort as I have found in reading your tributes...Jose was my first friend when I became a full time faculty member at HCC; Jose not only helped me prepare for my "big interview" with the ECE search committee by lending technical support to my teaching demo, but in the professionalism that he exemplified, never hinted that he too was on the committee that would be interviewing me...you can imagine my surprise and relief when I saw him smiling as I entered the room. Since this time, Jose, with the utmost patience and teaching skill, supported me as I learned Blackboard for the first time, then sat with me, for seemingly endless hours, as I clumsily developed an online course, ECE 207, for the first time. He was a facilitator....he was so generous with his time and dedication to distance learning and to the college as a whole. His understanding of Early Childhood Education...our program, our goals...our hopes for our program, was uncanny. He understood our courses, our students' needs, of our Core Values; in short, the man could read my mind when it came to any and all questions about our online offerings....I felt like Jose saw all and knew all but was the absolute most professional and upstanding man....he would never, ever breach professional trust or confidentiality....but he did know all:)

    Jose was the BEST person to have on an interview committee, we shared time on three separate search committees as of late and Jose always had a way of identifying the innate strengths of a candidate...even when the candidate did not proceed to next phase of the interview process, you can be sure Jose was able to recognize the very best in each and every person who wanted to work at HCC and was respectful of all who came through the door, immediately setting them at ease. Oh how I will miss Jose....this loss will be very difficult for our community to bear...I only hope to carry Jose's amazing traits with me going forward...the best of Jose can remain with us as we work together each day; his generosity, his patience, his professionalism, his ability to find the best in all....his love of mint gum ;) I will have gum in my office for you all should you need a sweet reminder of our friend Jose, I promise.


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  • posted by Kathleen A. Toedt, Ph.D. Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:27

    Jose’s kindness and generous spirit will forever live on in the hearts of all who were blessed to know him. Through my sadness and feelings of loss, I am also very thankful for all the wonderful memories indelibly created here at HCC by such a gifted and beloved individual. I, along with Jan and John, would also be proud to officially rename the center “The Jose Labrador Distance Learning Center”. Katie

    And also, a special thanks to Rob Nelson for reminding us to be thankful for our work colleagues’ daily activities, which help us Truly be an HCC Community, both in name AND action. PEACE TO ALL.

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  • posted by Janice Schaeffler Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:26

    Jose was a positive life force here at HCC and I feel I must add to the uplifting emails that have been sent. Just remembering his employment history here, one can only say he was a dedicated individual to our College and the Blackboard system. He was always there to lend us a hand with setting up our classes in a way that made us feel comfortable. The students depended on him. He was always respectful and kind. No question was too elementary.

    Losing Jose has been such a devastating loss to our HCC community. We are shocked that we will never see our friend and colleague again. Jose would want us to heal. I am grateful for all that have chosen to send well thoughts about Jose as it starts our long journey into healing.

    John, I think naming the distance learning center after Jose is totally appropriate. Jose always stepped up to the college’s needs in the Center. I, for one, would be very proud to call it the Jose Labrador Distance Learning Center.

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  • posted by John C. Sopchak Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:25

    Dear HCC Community,

    In light of the recent tragic loss of Jose, I would like everyone to consider the renaming of “The Distance Learning Center” as “The Jose Labrador Distance Learning Center.” Jose was an incredible Educator and Consummate Professional. By doing this act of love and recognition, his memory will live on. Jack

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  • posted by Jan Mason Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:24

    Jose was a colleague who I always looked forward to seeing. When I needed his help on campus I chose to walk over to see him rather than to email or call, because it was a pleasure to talk to him.
    I will miss him.

    Jan Mason

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