About the Book

American Dreamer: A Look into the Life of My Father, Joe Baby, takes you on a historical ninety-seven-year journey of love, courage, humanity, and faith all percolating from an immigrant WWII Bronze Star medal hero told by him firsthand in collaboration with his dedicated son Bill.

JOSEPH SEFEKAR (AKA Joe Baby) was more than just a son of immigrant parents who developed into a Staff Sergeant in WWII becoming a Bronze Star medal recipient, he was a committed preservationist leaving us with a treasure trove, an archive of 20th-century life in America all unified through a genuine love for his dear wife, family, life, career and country.

What this book reveals is a profound glimpse of how one man uses his growing knowledge, experiences, and philosophy, despite the difficult circumstances during some of the most crucial times in our Country’s recent history.   Joe’s major goal was to enlighten others while making his community a better place, such as starting a public library. His story continues to be an inspiration (a guide) that can be applied to the challenges we face today in the 21st century.

Joe Baby became an expert writer of his thoughts and happenings by writing letters to newspapers and editors.  His continuous dedication of what he believed was a wonderful expression of how he came to be the man and the force behind what would end up becoming an extraordinary legacy. He started to acquire this special talent surprisingly enough from reading the nickel novels of his time. Receiving a degree in Accounting and a Master’s in Management after returning from WW II. Joe eventually tied the knot with the love of his life “his soulmate” Thelma in 1942 and the devotion continued for 67 years.

Joe managed to save thousands of pictures, numerous film, and videotapes, original handwritten letters, writings, editorials and records along with his neatly organized newspaper clippings, artifacts, and other official documents.   Preserving life in this fashion complements the true character of this dedicated husband, father, citizen and patriot.

Joseph began volunteering for the fledgling Ruth Eckerd Hall, and before a shovel of dirt was turned he became Chief Financial Officer.  His experience preparing budgets and starting new and rather large programs for several U.S agencies over the years became a centerpiece as Administrator with his work at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C from inception to completion made Joe a great choice to be a part of Performing Arts Center which opened its doors in Clearwater, Florida in 1984.

A decade earlier, Joe was involved with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG) in Washington, D.C and as its Administrator, it was his duty to set in motion the day-to-day operations of this New Art Museum. From preparing budgets, working out contractor issues, to hiring key personnel, Joe certainly kept busy in this inspiring role. It was critical that his beginning responsibilities as Administrator required him to hire staff that would help make the transition from New York where most of the artwork and sculptures resided in a city-block warehouse over to Washington D.C. He would commute from New York to Washington for two years while the museum was being constructed and ready to be opened on the Capital Mall in 1974.

In 1976, The Smithsonian staff were honored for their service. Joe was recognized for completing 35 years of federal service which included time with the military, War Department, Small Business Administration, Defense Contract Audit Agency, Department of the Army, Department of the Air Force, Veterans Administration, and Department of Commerce. He was also nominated by Abram Lerner, Director, HMSG for the Rockefeller Public Service Award.which was a great honor to him.

From growing up on the lower East side of Manhattan supported by his spiritual upbringing in Judaism coupled with the fact that his soulmate Thelma was really his right hand, so supportive, as well as evolving into a most “talented artist” in her own right, there really was no way that he could have failed to accomplish what he felt he was required to do. His religious upbringing in Judaism kept him focused on helping others – being a good son, husband, father and grandfather as well as remaining a beacon of light for all those that came in contact with him.

America has been good to Joe Sefekar and his family, and he has shown it in all facets of his life.   He uses his special gift of intuition and analytical thought to come up with the best approach to problem-solving and this is clearly portrayed in this engaging autobiography American Dreamer: A Look into the Life of My Father, Joe Baby.

The immigrants of the United States have made this great country what it is today.  They bring an infusion of new ideas and a hardened desire to succeed.   Joe Baby’s Legacy is an important resource that helps keep our country forever young.  There is a great lesson here from a man of humble beginnings who accomplished so much in life.  An American hero, a wonderful message of what this country can, has and still produces today.  Pick up your copy today.


To my mother and father; who left me “no legacy,” except for longevity, an even disposition, the energy and the stamina to meet all life’s problems honestly and forthrightly. ~ Joe Baby

American Dreamer:  A Look Into the Life of My Father, Joe Baby