Joseph Easley, engineer and singer

Joseph Easley, who has died at 80, was the founder and first chairman of the Dalesmen Singers, the Yorkshire male voice choir that has traversed the globe for the last five decades.

Joseph Easley

It was a meeting in the Duke of Wellington pub at Danby, just inland from Whitby, that had laid the foundations of the organisation, back in 1971.

Joe Easley and Colin Throup, a former professional singer who became the outfit’s first musical director, were present, and resolved to set up a group that could perform at the local village halls and in churches.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But its reputation soon spread beyond the North York Moors, and it wasn’t long before the choir was accepting engagements in Canada, Holland, France, Sweden and Spain – in the process raising money for many charities.

Joe had other strings to his bow, too. Excelling at golf in his youth, be became an assistant pro at North Ormesby where he grew up.

He was an apprentice instrument artificer at ICI Wilton from 1953 to 1958 before later joining Head Wrightson Engineering in Thornaby.

In 1974 he co-founded Teesside Automation Services, a firm that still thrives today.

In Danby, he was an active member of the village show committee, the village hall and the local scout group. He also taught computer science in Acklam.

In 2009, he moved with his wife, Ann, to New Zealand to be closer to their son and his family. Six years later, his grandson, also called Joe, travelled from there to sing with the Dalesmen.