Date of death: 9/24/2021
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1973
On Friday, September 24, 2021, Joseph Gilpin ,son of Joseph A. Gilpin, Sr. and Ellen Plummer Gilpin, entered into the nearer presence of his Lord. He was the loving husband to Kathy, his wife of 46 years and father to his son, Christopher; and is survived by his younger brother William Gilpin of Sagamore, Massachusetts. He will also be remembered as a caring and compassionate friend to his many colleagues, students, and those with whom he served throughout his 77 years. Joe at first felt called to the priesthood. After receiving his Masters of Divinity from St. Meinrad School of Theology in 1972, he moved to Sarasota Florida and discovered his true vocation when he accepted a teaching position at Manatee High School, Bradenton.
In August 1974, Joe transferred to the newly established Bayshore High School and became a charter faculty member. Here he met Kathy; they were married in April 1975. Besides teaching Latin, Comparative Religion and various English and history courses, Papa Joe, as he was affectionately called by many of his students, was an enthusiastic sponsor of the Latin Club and served several years as Student Council advisor. He was also Class Sponsor to several of the early Junior and Senior Classes, and with his colleague, Judy Kreiling, created the BHS commencement ceremony. To surprise the students before the first football game, Joe and Kathy rented a Bear costume and introduced Bobby Bruin, the school mascot, at the pep rally.
Joe helped to found the Bayshore Betterment Foundation – the group of faculty members, parents and students who would go on to raise funds for the construction of Balvanz Stadium and worked with former students to establish the Bayshore Alumnae Association. For four years, Joe Gilpin left the classroom to become Supervisor of Operations and Energy for the Manatee School District. Ever the teacher, Joe initiated a program that would allow all of the custodial staff members to become state certified. After earning his Education Specialist degree from USF, Joe became an assistant principal serving at Bayshore High School, then at Johnson Middle school and finally at Haile Middle School. He retired in 2005.
Joe belonged to and held offices in the: Florida Foreign Language Association, Classical Association of Florida, Florida Junior Classical League, National Junior Classical League, SPQR Association of Retired Latin Teachers and Phi Delta Kappa In 1981, Joe was honored by being named the first FFLA Latin Teacher of the Year. Joe and Kathy fervently believed that extracurricular activities were an essential part of the high school experience. Throughout the years many BHS Latin students participated in the Florida Junior Classical League State Fora and traveled to the many universities and colleges that served as hosts for the National Latin Convention. Joe was also engaged in community activities serving with the Friends of the Braden River Library – the group that was ultimately responsible for building this branch, becoming a member of the Board for the Chaplaincy at what was then Manatee Community College, and participating in the Manatee County Retired Teachers’ Association.
Another group that was near and dear to Joe’s heart was The Clergy Spouse Association of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida He became a member of this association upon his wife Kathy’s ordination to the diaconate in 2005. Kathy served at a number of churches during the past 15 years, and Joe always became involved in the life of the congregation as an usher/greeter, an unofficial bulletin editor, and a sometime study group leader as well as homily proofreader.