Deceased January 11, 2017

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In Memory

Joel died on Jan. 11, 2017, after a long battle with COPD. He was born in Philadelphia and came to Amherst from Upper Darby High School. As an undergraduate, Joel majored in economics, was treasurer of the Student and president of Phi Delta Theta. There Joel endeared himself to Hal Kolb ’55 by typing up several pages of Hal’s somewhat overdue thesis!

Upon graduation Joel returned to Philadelphia and joined Bell Tel of Pennsylvania, working for the company for 37 years in a variety of staff and managerial positions. There he met Judy McLaughlin, a coworker. Joel and Judy were married in 1963. Interestingly, Joel took Judy almost from their honeymoon in October 1963 to Amherst to hear President John Kennedy dedicate the Robert Frost Library.

After Joel retired in 1991, he looked around for something to do. He found it as a paralegal, earning a paralegal certificate from Penn State and then working as a paralegal specializing in elder law for a Philadelphia law firm until he retired again in 1999. Joel then became the “entertainment committee” for his four grandsons.

For more than 20 years, Joel was an associate class agent. In 2004 he typed all the responses from questionnaires that would become the text for our 50th reunion book. When asked if he felt imposed upon to do all that typing, Joel replied, “Not at all; I get to read all those interesting responses before the rest of you!” He was honored at our 50th reunion banquet with a stunning color picture of Johnson Chapel.

Joel was a loyal classmate and a true friend. He is survived by Judy, daughter Megan, son Andrew and six grandchildren.

Rob Sowersby ’55