Joel David Delpha

08/13/1949 - 03/30/2024


Obituary For Joel David Delpha

Joel David Delpha passed away peacefully on March 30, 2024 in St Louis, Missouri. Born on August 13, 1949 in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he embarked on a life of service and education, beginning with his studies at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee, where he graduated in 1971. Inspired by his faith, he devoted seven years to serving as a Christian Brother. He was active in the Anti-War and United Farm Workers Movements where he met his wife of 48 years, Kathleen Sharkey.

Joel earned a Master’s degree in Theology from the University of San Francisco and enriched the lives of countless students through teaching for more than 40 years, including 37 years at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis. Joel taught Social Justice, coached football, track, and baseball, and was made an honorary alumnus in 2012. Later, Joel worked with students at Southview School, part of the Special School District of St. Louis County, demonstrating his commitment to inclusive education.

He found joy in nature, poetry, baseball, bird watching, and music, often playing the Native American flute and harmonica. His warm spirit and love for gatherings were evident during the “more-or-less-annual” Kopavi Community Beatles Party which he and his wife Kathleen had the privilege to co-host several years. He also thoroughly enjoyed working at the Muny for more than 20 summers.

He is survived by his loving wife, Kathleen Sharkey Delpha, his children Daniel (Stephanie) Delpha, Madeleine (Scott) Delpha McClure, grandchildren Henry, Elizabeth, Paloma, and Theodore, and siblings Tim (Nancy) Delpha and Ann Marie (Evan) Delpha. Joel was laid to rest in a green burial at Bellefontaine Cemetery on April 4. A celebration of Joel’s life will be held at Our Lady of the Star Chapel at Christian Brothers College High School on Sunday, April 14 at 1:30 pm. A reception in CBC’s Ross Hall will follow. All are welcome.

In honor of his memory, donations can be made to Tower Grove Park, where a bench in his honor is planned, or the Joel Delpha Scholarship Fund at CBC.

Joel Delpha will be remembered for his unwavering dedication to education, his passion for social justice, and his love for family and community. His legacy of kindness, humility, and compassion will continue to inspire those who knew him.

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