Rest in Peace, Uncle Joe!

I’m saddened this morning by the loss of my Uncle Joe, my Dad’s younger brother, and my last living uncle. Next to my Dad, he was one of the men I admired most in life and I am proud to have been named after him. He attended the same high school I did – St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago – and had a long and fruitful association with the Jesuits. He was always very supportive of me in my ministerial work and encouraged my commitment to what he referred to as the “noble profession” of teaching.

Uncle Joe was a pharmacist like my Dad and, after I worked for my Dad at Paprocki Pharmacy for many years, I then had the privilege of working for my Uncle at his pharmacy to supplement my income as a Catholic school teacher. I worked at his store on weekends and during the summer and learned so many valuable life lessons from him. In contrast to my Dad who was a quiet, reserved man, Uncle Joe was outgoing and boisterous with an incredible sense of humor. He caricatured himself as a curmudgeon when nothing was further from the truth. (example- Me: “Uncle Joe, I’m so glad you could make it to the family picnic!”  Uncle Joe: “I didn’t want to come but my kids made me!”)

I was always proud to be his namesake however, he was always quick to remind me that, after taking one look at me when I was born, he legally changed his last name from Paprocki to Parks!

Perhaps the most unique experience I had working with both my Dad and my Uncle was the opportunity to stand next to them behind the prescription counter at their respective stores and listen to them wax eloquently about one another. They had a true “mutual admiration society” and I was privileged to witness such fraternal love. Now, the 2 brothers are re-united in heaven where I have no doubt they are donning their White Sox caps and organizing a game of softball like they did when they were kids.

Rest in peace, Uncle Joe!

P.S. It is sadly ironic that Uncle Joe died as a result of a fall at home. Here is a pic of him at our family picnic just 2 summers ago when, at the tender young age of 82, he decided to hop on top of a picnic table just to scare the #@&% out of all of us! When he was a kid, he used to jump out of the 2nd floor window to the sidewalk below and he used to jump from rooftop to rooftop from our home on Sacramento all the way to the church on Whipple, a block away!


About Joe Paprocki 2746 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

18 Comments on Rest in Peace, Uncle Joe!

  1. May he rest in peace. May you and your family know God’s care and comfort during this time of sorrow. What beautiful memories you have of your Uncle Joe!

  2. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you for sharing your thoughts of him. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  3. Hi Joe,
    So sorry for your loss…it’s so very hard to lose the ones we spend so much “life” with!

    a story I have always loved sharing with those who have lossed loved ones…just recently, myself, with a dear friend who died at 50…this was on her memory card…

    “A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says, ‘she is gone’. Gone where? Gone from sight, that is all; she is just as large as when I saw her last. The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone at my side says, ‘She is gone,’ there are others who are watching her coming, and their voices take up a glad shout, ‘There she comes!’

    Peace, Joe.

  4. Joe,
    So sorry to hear of your loss. The tribute you gave him
    was spectacular and I am sure as you said, he is playing ball in
    heaven. But with his great humor do you think he’ld be bold enough
    to war something other than a white sox hat? Heaven forbid!
    You and your family will be in my prayers.

  5. You were so lucky to have Uncle Joe in your life. I am certain he sports his White Sox hat up in Heaven and will be working on their behalf this upcoming season. May you think of him often and remind us to keep our deceased relatives foremost in our hearts too!

  6. Hi Joe,

    So sorry to hear about your Uhcle Joe. Most of my memories of him are as a child when we would attend the Paprocki cousins’s birthday parties, etc. He was always a pleasant gentleman with a very keen sense of humor – very likeable. I’m sorry I couldn’t attend his wake – I’m still recovering from recent foot surgery and am under doctor’s orders not to drive and to stay off my feet as much as possible. He and his family are in my prayers ahd I will have a mass said for him (I will send your Mom a card confirming same). Take care and send my love to the rest of the family. Cousin Gloria

    • HI Gloria and thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I hope you mend quickly from your surgery and enjoy good health in 2012! Love, Cousin Joe.

  7. Joe, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. We grieve for ourselves. Our beloveds are rejoicing in the Presence. You and Uncle Joe have my prayers.

  8. Joe It is never easy losing someone we love. Sounds like you have wonderful memories of your Uncle Joe. Blessings to your family. Debi Wickler, Anchorage Alaska

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