Joseph P. Joseph was born on December 29, 1919 to Peter and Mamie Joseph, the youngest of their six children. At the time of his death on June 28, 2010 he was the second oldest member of the St. Louis Historic Trinity Church.
His claim to fame (which also made him very proud and humble) was the training of young men in weightlifting. Many of these boys remained his life long friends. He coached with an Olympic level of skill at the St. Louis Boys Club and often chief judge in many weight lifting competitions throughout the state of Missouri. He never ceased to encourage and support his "boys". Yes, it was important to win, but Joe taught his "boys" something else. Joe taught his "boys" to embrace and appreciate competition, to conquer their fear of failure, build self-confidence, and enable them to face life's obstacles. He was a mentor and father figure to many, leading by example.
During World War II Joe served his country as an Army paratrooper, thankful that his last scheduled jump into enemy territory was canceled at the last moment due to the German surrender following D-Day.
Joe's greatest love and joy was his dear wife Bernice, known as "Bea". They were a quiet couple who enjoyed the simple pleasures of life together. Her death in 1991 broke his heart. But he never wavered in spirit. His inner spirit, self-fortitude and undaunted faith helped him carry on.
In addition to bringing his young nieces to Sunday school, ushering and teaching at church and in later years, enjoying the company of his friend Henry Rathert for Saturday evening worship and dinner afterwards, Joe could always be found near a radio or TV to get the scoop on the latest ball game. Following the home team through thick and thin was part of his faithful makeup.
Joe was only too happy to blow his whistle or pull out his harmonica at a birthday party or Christmas time. "Silent Night" never sounded better than when Joe played his harmonica.
Joe Joseph, always in tip top physical condition, weight lifted well into his 80's. He believed in exercising his mind as well as his body. His daily routine always included weight lifting and reading his bible. As Joe began to age and experience more and more difficulty in getting out, some of his "boys" from the former St. Louis Boy's Club Weightlifting team would stay in touch and on occasion pick him up and take him out to dinner.
As the years continued to sneak up on Joe, his always faithful niece, Vickie, continued to help Joe and shower him with attention. Even in his final hour, concerned for his niece, with love and affection, quietly and softly, Joe said to Vickie, "You can go now". That was Joe Joseph, always thinking of the next one.
Your donations to the Joseph P. Joseph Memorial Fund will help veterans, their families, and children who intend to pursue a higher education in both undergraduate and graduate work as well as professional advancement.