Joseph Edward Debold passed away peacefully at home on May 1, 2022, with his family by his side. He was born on April 4, 1929 in Belleville, New Jersey to Walter and Irene Debold. He attended St. Benedict’s Prep and St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, NJ, where he earned a B.S. in Economics. A Korean War Veteran, Joe served in an Army radar unit in Sheffield, England in 1952.
In 1954, he married Catherine (Kathleen) Frances Flynn, and together they raised seven children. He is pre-deceased by his wife, Kathleen, his brothers, Reverend Walter Debold, Robert and John Debold, and sister, Anna O’Neill and is survived by his children, Joseph (Gloria), John, Daniel (Barbara), Gerard (Rosanne), Maureen (Walter), Ned (Stephanie), Kathleen and 15 grandchildren and two spouses and one fiancé.
Joe began his career at George Lamont & Son Paper Company in Nutley, New Jersey, in 1945, advancing from part-time employee while a sophomore in high school, to the Director of Personnel at the time of his retirement in 1990.
In 1970, Georgia Pacific acquired his division and relocated the plant to Warwick, NY, where he settled with his family. In Warwick, Joe became an active member of the community in every way; he served as President of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce, President of the Lions Club, a decades-long board member of St. Anthony’s Community Hospital, a long-time member of the Warwick Valley Country Club. His civic engagement was matched only by his dedication to his parish, St. Stephen Church, serving as member of the Parish Council and as a lector for over 40 years.
Throughout his 52 years in Warwick, he was often sought out as a trusted leader who could unite groups toward a common goal for the good of the community; many buildings in town remain a testament to his ability to galvanize the funds and support needed to build a vital community. As a Trustee of St. Anthony’s, he led the capital campaign to build a new wing that doubled the number of beds at the facility, and later successfully lobbied state officials to prevent its closure.
It was his dedication to serving and improving the lives of his fellow citizens that led him to be named Citizen of the Year in 1980, by the Warwick Jaycees. In the 1980’s, when St. Stephen’s determined that its parish had outgrown its village location, Joe was asked to chair the overall effort and worked tirelessly with his equally dedicated committee members on the funding, design, and construction of the new church located on Sanfordville Road. He was integral in the effort to convert Mount Alverno Convent into the Schervier Pavilion Rehabilitation Facility.
Later in life, he was also tapped to serve on the first Board of Governors of the Albert Wisner Public Library from 2005-2009, where he assisted in efforts to see the construction of the new library; the resulting facility has been named “one of the best small libraries in America”. In all of these efforts, he was a humble and collaborative leader, motivated solely by a desire to improve the lives of his fellow citizens.
Joe’s civic engagement was second only to his devotion to his family; his number one goal was to ensure that each family member was not only taken care of but in fact thrived. There was no challenge or hurdle the family faced that he was unable to overcome or fix. He was also a lot of fun to be around because he and Kathleen created such a welcoming home constantly filled with family and friends. This was most obvious during their annual vacation to the Jersey Shore, where the entire family spent a week together. Friends, and extended family who joined them, loved the experience and often returned again and again.
Joe also loved playing sports with his family; on many Sunday afternoons you could find him playing touch football in the park near their home, always inviting the neighborhood kids to join the game. In fact, Dad was a starting player in all 51 years of their annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowls. Joe was a fixture at the Warwick Valley Country Club, known by everyone for his late night rounds, his quick wit and love of the game. He knew the distance to the hole from anywhere on the course; a skill that led to five holes-in-one, one resulting in winning a new car at St. Anthony’s Hospital tournament.
His family, and all of those who knew him, will miss him greatly, but are so much the better for the lasting impact that he had on their lives.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, May 5, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Lazear-Smith & Vander Plaat Memorial Home, 17 Oakland Avenue, Warwick, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 6th at St. Stephen RC Church, 75 Sanfordville Rd., Warwick, NY. Interment will follow at St. Stephen’s Cemetery at 98 Galloway Rd., Warwick.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Stephen’s Church, 75 Sanfordville Road, Warwick, NY 10990, Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties, Inc. 800 Stony Brook Court, Newburgh, NY 12550 or a charity of your choosing in his name.
Arrangements were entrusted to Lazear-Smith & Vander Plaat Memorial Home, 17 Oakland Avenue, Warwick, NY 10990. To send an online condolence, visit www.lsvpmemorialhome.com