Joseph A. Koerner

Joseph A. Koerner

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Joseph Alois Koerner of St. Louis collapsed at home on March 14, 2019, and died after being transported to Barnes Jewish Hospital.

He leaves his wife, Maria Allen-Koerner, together 30 years; his daughter, Vanessa Enloe and her husband Paul Enloe who are parents of his two grandchildren, Neve and Brendan Enloe all of Dallas, TX; his youngest daughter, Kendra Bockius and husband Jeff Bockius of St. Louis; Brothers Tom Koerner and Randy Koerner of Hays, KS; and many close friends.

Born on January 28, 1939 and raised in Hays, he was the son of Joseph Koerner, Sr. and Bertha (Miller) Koerner, and was the oldest of four brothers. He was preceded in death by his parents and his youngest brother, Myron “Skip” Koerner. Proud of his family heritage, he learned to speak German. He held a paper route as a youth and attended high school at St. Joseph’s Military Academy, as did his father and three brothers. He graduated in 1957 and was that year’s Battalion Commander, the highest-ranking cadet. Later employment in Hays included Central Kansas Power and Gilmore Construction.

After a year at Fort Hays State, he entered the Jesuit Seminary in Florissant in 1958 and earned his BA at St. Louis University (SLU). He taught a year at SLU High in the subject of Latin and was the director of the Glee Club and a theater play production. In 1967, post seminary days, he graduated from SLU with a master’s in philosophy. He remained a regular member of SLU St. Francis Xavier College Church and a faithful friend of his Jesuit buddies.

His early career included teaching Latin at St. Mary’s University in Leavenworth but the majority of his work focused on marketing research consulting for Maritz, as owner of The Qualis Company, and for the Salvation Army. The last several years he spent teaching Latin at Webster University and SLU, bringing his career full circle and fulfilling his life’s passion, which is teaching and a love of language and philosophy. In his words, “I’ve always had a great reverence for and interest in ancient times.”

Joe was talented musically and was known for singing and playing his guitar with friends and family, and for nursing home residents. He also performed in several community theater productions where he is most fondly remembered as “Daddy Warbucks”. A highlight was being a member of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis Choir, during which time he was able to perform in Rome and Austria.

Joe was a life-long learner of the sciences, the classics, and continued to be intrigued by philosophy and theology. He had frequently contributed his thoughts and perspectives on issues in letters to the editor printed in St. Louis Post Dispatch. Having a most recognizable and happy laugh, he was well known and loved by his community and he generously gave back to society. Such an outgoing human being, he would meet and engage with all groups of people. One friend said, “If I were like Joe and was sitting in any coffee shop, I would know all of those people sitting over there!” Per his wishes, his body was donated to science.

Family was precious to Joe as he was the most caring, supportive, and proud father and grandfather “Poppa Joe”, and likewise, was their hero. His final day was spent with his love, Maria, doing the things enjoyed: coffee club, exercising, volunteering in the local food pantry, completing the NYT crossword puzzle, and reading the newspaper – most importantly, the comics (AKA the philosophy page).

His memorial service will be held at SLU St. Francis Xavier College Church on May 20th at 10 a.m.

If you care to make a memorial donation, Joe was active in the following organizations:

Microfinancing Partners in Africa
4949 Columbia Ave.
St. Louis, Mo. 63139

Trinity Episcopal Food Pantry
600 N. Euclid Ave.
St. Louis, Mo. 63108

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  1. Sharon Apollo says:

    So sorry, praying for you and your family.
    Kendra miss you. Love Aunt Sharon Apollo

  2. Louis J McCabe says:

    Dear Maria, Vanessa, and Kendra,

    I first met your beloved Joe on Aug 8, 1958, our first day at St. Stanislaus Seminary. We also taught together at St. Louis U. High in 1965-66 and have kept in touch ever since.

    I treasure all of Joe, but especially his smile and wonderful laugh

    Prayers and blessings for all of Joe’s family.

    Lou McCabe, S.J.

  3. Rosemary Jermann says:

    Maria, Vanessa, Kendra, and all of Joe’s family,

    My heartfelt sympathy on your loss.

    I first saw Joe in St. Louis when he played a king in a Shakespeare play, and I was delighted to learn he was from my own hometown in Kansas.

    Joe was a most faithful visitor to his friends at Jesuit Hall, and he never failed to come with a word of humor. What a combination of intelligence and humanity.

    Thank you for sharing him with us all these years. Your loss is a loss for many of us.

    With prayer for all of you,
    Rosemary Jermann

  4. Sister Janet Crane SSND says:

    My favorite memory will be Joe’s making me feel welcome when I was the new person. There at his side was dear Maria. We’ll miss you.

    Blessings to Maria and family

  5. Michael Tueth, S.J. says:

    I too met Joe when I entered the Jesuit novitiate, a week after he did. I thought that we wouldn’t get along because he was such an accomplished athlete, and I–to put it mildly– was not. But lo and behold, we became best buddies and remained so until his final days. In fact, I had just called him to see if we could get together for the feast of St. Joseph, but he decided that he would rather go to heaven and meet S. Joseph himself. I am sure they will have a wonderful time together!

  6. Fr. Bob Hagan, S. J. says:

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I have been remembering Joe and all who mourn him in my prayers and at Mass since I learned of his death. It was long ago that I was in St. Louis and has breakfast at the St. Louis Bread Co. in the Central West End with you and Joe, Maria. I first met Joe 60 years ago on August 21, 1959, at St. Stanislaus Seminary on Howdershell Rd. in Florissant. I remade his acquaintance and yours, Maria, when I came back in late October, 1994, from 14 and a half years in Rome and lived for a time at Jesuit Hall and became part of the 10:30 am Sunday Mass community at the College Church at SLU. And I always thought of Joe and prayed for you when I drove back to MO from CO 1995-2008 and passed through or stayed the night in Joe’s native Hays. I count it a blessing to have been one of Joe’s friends.