Joseph Alibey Aubert, Jr., died Monday at the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve after a lengthy illness. He was 85. AJ (as he was known to his family), or Joe (as he was known to his friends), was born in 1927 to Joseph Alibey Aubert, Sr., and Marie Antoinette Schexnayder. Delivered prematurely, he was said to be the smallest baby to have survived up to that time at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. The youngest of twelve children, his older sisters carried their tiny brother around in a shoebox, and that was only the beginning of their many years of doting on him. He grew up in St. John Parish and graduated from Leon Godchaux High School in Reserve. He loved to sing and dance, and as a teenager won many local talent contests as a Big Band singer. AJ was proud to have served in the U.S. Navy during both World War II and the Korean War. He told everyone who would listen that he served for exactly 9 years, 11 months, and 15 days. Navy travel gave him to opportunity to literally sing and dance around the world. One of the highlights of his life was singing a tune with his favorite star, Kathryn Grayson, during a USO show at the Hollywood Bowl. He truly loved the Navy, but after he got married he realized that he loved his family more, so he left the service shortly after his first daughter was born. AJ worked most of his adult life for Exxon, retiring in 1992 after 34 years of dedicated service. His first assignment at Exxon was working at the "training station" on Florida Boulevard. His last was with Exxon Shipping, which gave him joy of being aboard ship again, if only for short jaunts on the Mississippi River. AJ was a faithful Christian and a member of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, where he served as usher, junior warden, choir member, and cantor. Until his final years, he continued to sing and dance every chance he got. Valued as a coworker, friend, and neighbor, he was well-liked by all, due largely to his enthusiastic good humor. His kind, generous, and loving spirit was an example to many. AJ is survived by Virginia, the wife to whom he was devoted for 59 years. He is also survived by sister Rose Mae Aubert Borne; daughters Kathy Keller, Kim Aubert, and Keri Aubert; son-in-law Danny Keller and daughter-in-law Jakki Flanagan; granddaughters Carly Shirk, Katie Keller, and Morgan Flanagan; great-grandsons Nicholas and Zachary Shirk; and Chihuahua Tiny. There will be a private memorial service on a date to be announced. Remembrances may be sent to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105; www.stjude.org) or the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank (P.O. Box 2996, Baton Rouge, LA 70821; www.brfoodbank.org).
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Published in TheAdvocate.com from Sept. 24 to Sept. 27, 2013