Family and friends will gather Friday to remember Dr. Joseph P. Megale, and are sharing this remembrance with the community:
Heaven just got a whole lot better.
Dr. Joseph Patrick Megale [Dr. Joe] passed away on January 23, 2022, at the age of 94 among family in Palm Springs, CA. His passing was, believe it or not, a surprise to those who knew him closely. Dr. Joe, up until a couple weeks before his death was a vibrant, active, 94-year-old man. Anyone close to Joe new he was on the ball, both mentally and physically.
Joe was born on March 12, 1927, the third son to Giuseppe and Dominica [Pizzimenti] Megale in Coos Bay, Oregon. He and his mother Dominica moved back to Italy to care for her mother when Joe was 3 years old, his father staying in Coos Bay. Joe and his mother returned to Coos Bay before the War broke out when Joe was 7 years old. Joe attended high school in Coos Bay, where he was a standout football player. In 1944, he joined the Army, and was honorably discharged in 1946. He was quoted as saying “I went into the Army a boy and came back a Man.” He then attended undergrad studies at the University of Portland, followed by dental school at the University of Oregon. His senior year, he met the love of his life and future wife Mary “Diane” Kremmel [it did take an introduction from his sister Eleanor]. Joe and Diane were married on August 20th, 1955, Joe passed his boards [both Washington and Oregon] in June of 1956, their first child was born [Joseph] shortly after that, and they relocated to Washington to join his brother Dominic, who had an established dental practice in West Seattle (West Seattle Dental Center). Joe credited his brother Dominic for helping him get started in the dental field; he didn’t really know him growing up [Dominic was 14 years his senior] but he developed a great bond and friendship practicing together over the years.
Joe was truly committed to his practice; he believed in honesty, integrity, hard work and consistent support. His dream of providing exceptional dental care with compassion for his clientele all resulted in a successful practice which was supplemented beautifully by his sister, Paulina Beard, who practiced alongside her two brothers as a dental hygienist for the duration of Joe’s career. All his kids had a hand in the dental field and the daughters continued their work\careers with him for a number of years, some staying until his retirement, it was the true meaning of a “family practice.” Joe never wavered in his care for his patients they were first and they mattered. Joe retired in 1995 but continued to carry his dental license, volunteering at the Gospel Mission clinic in downtown Seattle and traveling to Moses Lake to provide pro bono care to people in need. A testament to his love of dentistry and way of giving back to a career that was good to him.
Joe was very active in his church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, where he received his CCD teaching certificate and was a founding parishioner.
He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was proud of his Italian heritage and made several trips back to Italy as an adult to his roots in Cardeto in the Province of Calabria. One of these trips, in 1987, included Diane and all seven children. For Joe it just wasn’t sightseeing, he visited and reconnected with family on both his mother and father’s side and made sure his immediate family were able to meet them as well.
In his retirement, Joe and Diane traveled extensively; they bought a van complete with restroom and sleeping quarters, which they used to drive around the United States.
They traveled to Hawaii, Mexico, Palm Springs, several cruises, and trips to Italy. They ended up settling in Palm Springs as a go-to destination during the winter. After Diane’s passing in 2009, Joe’s yearly calendar was on the move. During summer and fall he resided on Vashon Island, where he enjoyed much family time with kids, grandkids and anyone else who wanted to join the beauty. The door was always open and ready for a party or two!! He continued to go to Palm Springs during the winter months and enjoyed friends, family visits, food and sun!!
Joe did find time for hobbies and interests, while raising seven children and operating a dental practice. Among them were skiing, golfing, working out to stay in shape (mandatory in Joe’s world), and the perpetual project, his Vashon Island home.. He enjoyed skiing at Sun Valley every March surrounded by friends and family. Joe quipped “what happens in Sun Valley stays in Sun Valley,” good times were had. Known as “Papa Joe” on the slopes, Joe continued skiing until he was 85. Vashon Island was the place Joe loved the most. Joe and Diane bought the property as a vacant lot and developed it over the years to a beautiful waterfront home. The children were not allowed to come over and stay in the tent until they were out of diapers! Joe brought new meaning to the term “sweat equity,” just ask his children. Having said that, Joe was right there picking up rocks at age 94! The annual Megale party at Vashon was always a fun, anticipated event, which Joe enjoyed very much.
Joe loved his wife Diane and family most; he raised seven wonderful children, he loved their spouses and enjoyed his seven grandchildren and was immensely proud of each one’s successes. He will be dearly missed but his inspirational force, determination ,integrity and love of life along with many great memories will never be forgotten. Heaven just got better.
Joe was predeceased by Domenica and Guiseppe Megale (parents), Mary “Diane” Megale (wife), Dominic Jr. (age 3-brother), D.V. Megale (brother) and wife Midge (sister-in-law), and Paulina Megale Beard (sister), Thomas Beard (brother-in-law), and Owen J. Murphy (brother-in-law)
Joe is survived by his “little sister” Eleanor (Megale) Murphy, who resides in Worcester, Mass. and his children and spouses: Joe [Theresa] Megale, Annie [Tom] Lehner, Theresa [Jason] Madle, Regina [Paul] Hildebrandt, Lisa [Andrew] Barnecut, Maria [Kevin] Olson, and Nicholas [Julie] Megale. grandchildren: Susan and Domenica Hildebrandt, David Joseph Alde, Kirsten and Ana Olson, Angelina Barnecut, and Isabella Megale. Also survived by numerous loving nieces and nephews.
In lieu of gifts, donations kindly:
St. Jude Hospital
Seattle Union Gospel Mission
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish & School
The Mass of Christian Burial for Dr. Joseph Megale (Papa Joe) will be on Friday, February 4, 2022 at 10:00 am, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. (7000 35th Ave SW). Procession immediately following to Holyrood Catholic Cemetery (205 NE 205th St. Shoreline). No reception. The live-streamed Funeral Mass can be viewed here and here.
Papa always said “when there’s a will there’s a way” – fino a quando ci incontriamo di nuovo (“until we meet again”)
We welcome you to provide your thoughts, photos & memories on our Tribute Wall at emmickfunerals.com/obituary/Joseph-Megale * Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)