The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 31, 2012

Joseph A. “Joe” La Barge Jr., 74, Prescott, Ariz.


The Daily Item

— PRESCOTT, Ariz. — Joseph Albert “Joe” La Barge Jr., 74, of Prescott, formerly of Lewisburg, Pa., passed away at his home on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, after more than a decade of coping with various types of cancer.

Joe was born Dec. 11, 1937, in St. Louis, Mo., a son of the late Joseph Albert La Barge Sr. and Bonita June Tillison. In 1942, his family moved to Tulsa, Okla., where they lived for many years.

Joe attended Marquette School for grade school and high school, graduating in 1955. After graduation, as an outstandingly successful left-handed pitcher, he was offered contracts by several major league teams to play professional baseball. Instead, he enrolled in St. Mary’s Seminary, Houston, Texas, to begin an eight-year course of study for the Catholic priesthood.

In 1957, he was invited to continue and complete his final six years of study at the North American College and the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. After returning to Oklahoma in 1963, Joe served at Christ the King Parish in Oklahoma City until 1967, when he began graduate studies in Washington, D.C. In 1970, he resigned from the ministry, completed his doctoral studies, married Maureen Murphy, and joined the faculty of Bucknell University. Over the next 20 years, they had three children. During his 30-year tenure at Bucknell, Joe taught courses in western religious history and also biomedical ethics. He did extensive consulting work with physicians and medical staff on matters relating to ethics and medicine at the Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pa. For many years he served as Chair of the Religious Studies Department. And in May, 2000, Joe received Bucknell’s Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence.

Joe married Linda Diplock in 2002, and in June 2004, they moved to Prescott to enjoy the climate and beauty of north-central Arizona.

Chief among Joe’s many life-long interests was singing in a cappella music groups. With his resonant bass voice, Joe sang with the Prescott Master Chorale. He also sang with a number of barbershop harmony choruses and quartets throughout the country. He held elected offices in every group he sang with and was a 39-year member of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Joe is survived by his loving wife, Linda; his three children and their spouses, Joe La Barge and Kristyn Vandegrift, of Fort Washington, Pa., Michelle La Barge and Samuel Hernandez Moreno, of Madrid, Spain, and Bill and Miranda La Barge, of Laguna Niguel, Calif.; one sister, Jeanne Wirsching, of Tucson, Ariz. and Durango, Colo.; seven grandchildren, Schuyler, Brinlea, Liam, Jamison, Jake, Victoria and Olivia; three step-children, Gillian Collie, Heather Chase and Richard Collie; and eight step-­grandchildren.

A celebration of his life with family and friends is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Rooke Chapel, Bucknell University, Lewisburg. A reception will immediately follow at the Bucknell Weis Center.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Joe to The Good Samaritan Society Hospice, 1065 Ruth St., Prescott, AZ 86301 or online at http://bit.ly/TXWc1E.