Cover photo for Honorable Joseph F. McCloskey's Obituary
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1929 Honorable Joseph 2021

Honorable Joseph F. McCloskey

October 9, 1929 — September 16, 2021

  Honorable Joseph F. McCloskey, 91, President Judge of Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas, Emeritus, died Thursday at home.

  He was born October 9, 1929, in Darkwater, New Castle Township, PA, a son of the late Peter V. and Ethel Mills McCloskey.

 He was a graduate of Pottsville Catholic High School and Perkiomen Preparatory School. A 1952 graduate of Shippensburg State College with a B.S. awarded. A 1957 Graduate of Villanova University School of Law with a Juris Doctor.

  He was a veteran of the United State Navy having served during the Korean War.

  Judge McCloskey’s career started with his own General Practice of Law from 1957-1975 where during this time he practiced law before the Supreme and Superior Courts of Pennsylvania, Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas. He served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He also served as solicitor for Branch Township, City of Pottsville, Minersville Area School District, St. Clair Area School District, New Castle Township, Greater Pottsville Area Swear Authority, Pottsville Housing Authority, and the Borough of Frackville.  He served as Workmen’s compensation referee, Fifth District of Pennsylvania from 1972 to 1975.

  He later was appointed Judge in the 21st Judicial District, Schuylkill County on September 30, 1975, by former Governor Milton Shapp upon recognition of Governor’s Merit Selection Committee and the Schuylkill County Bar Association, to fill the vacant seat of the late Judge John W. Walesky. On Election Day of November 8, 1977, he was the first to judicial candidate in the history of Schuylkill County to receive both the Republican and Democratic Party nominations for a contested seat. He then was retained on November 3, 1987. From January 19, 1990, to January 5, 1998, he was President Judge of the 21st Judicial District, Schuylkill County. He served as Judge for the Court of Judicial Discipline, commencing on August 16, 1993 and was then elected President Judge serving November 23, 1993 to January 6, 1997. On January 6, 1998, he was appointed Senior Judge of Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, which handles appeals of cases involving state and local governmental agencies. Prior to retiring on January 6, 2010, Judge McCloskey had the honor of holding a full session of this court at the Schuylkill County Court House on Nov. 5, 2009, it was first time ever that this session was held outside Harrisburg, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

  Judge McCloskey was a member of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, Pottsville, Pottsville Lions and Kiwanis Clubs, Walter Griffiths AMVETS Post #129, Catholic War Veterans, Post #1051, American Hose Co., Ancient Order of Hibernians JFK Division #2, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Navy Club, Schuylkill Country Club the former Pottsville Club, and former Fountain Springs Country Club. He was also a member of the Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judicial Inquiry and Review Board where he served on the Board from 1982 to 1986 and later served as Chairman of the Screening Committee, form 1992-1993, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the former Schuylkill Heath System where in recognition of his time of service the former Pottsville Hospital School of Nursing was renamed the Joseph F. McCloskey School of Nursing in 2012, and a member of Penn State Schuylkill Campus Advisory Board. He was also a former member of the Pottsville Redevelopment Authority.

  Throughout his life Judge McCloskey was a recipient for many awards and achievements. He was recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Associations Judicial Award, the Schuylkill Women in Crisis Certificate of Appreciation, Governor’s Highway Safety Award for Alcohol Highway Safety, the Jesse S. Heiges Distinguished Alumnus Award from Shippensburg University, the G. Earl Stephenson Distinguished Citizenship Award presented by the Greater Pottsville Winter Carnival Association and the Pennsylvania State University, Schuylkill Campus, Distinguished Citizens Award.

  He was preceded in death by a sister, Elizabeth Clark and her husband James; 2 brothers, former Postmaster of Pottsville, Peter J. McCloskey and his wife, Catherine; James Mills McCloskey and his wife, Marguerite:

  Surviving are his wife of 68 years, Joanne Charlton McCloskey; a daughter, Patti Ann Armstrong, and her husband Peter, Sinking Spring; Nieces and Nephews.

  A Service of Remembrance will be held at the convenience of the family at the Chapel of Resurrection at Charles Baber Cemetery. The family would prefer remembrances in the form of contributions in memory of Judge McCloskey be made to the Jospeh F. McCloskey School of Nursing, 420 S. Jackson St. Pottsville, PA 17901, Charles Baber Cemetery Preservation Trust, 200 S. 2nd Street, Pottsville, PA 17901 or St. Patrick Memorial Fund, 319 Mahantongo St. Pottsville, PA 17901. Interment with military honors will be at the convenience of the family at Charles Baber Cemetery, Pottsville.

  Arrangements are under the care of James E. Humphrey Funeral Home, Pottsville.

  Please share your memories and condolences the McCloskey Family by signing the guest book at

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