Fr. Joseph E. Damhorst SJ

November 9, 1936July 18, 2021

Father Joseph E. Damhorst, SJ, died July 18, 2021, in St. Louis.

He was 84 years old, a Jesuit for 65 years and a priest for 53 years. In addition to earning degrees at Saint Louis University, Fr. Damhorst served in St. Louis as the director of the mission office for the former Missouri Province and as chaplain for Loyola Academy of St. Louis. He served in pastoral ministry at Red Cloud Mission and Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Rapid City South Dakota from 1990 to 2002. From 2002 to 2008 he served as superior and pastoral minister at St. Patrick’s Church and Holy Apostles Church in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. He spent much of the last decade of his life serving in pastoral ministry at the Xavier Jesuit Center in Denver and served as chaplain to the Kateri Catholic Community in Denver until his declining health necessitated a move to St. Louis.

Born in Quincy, Ill., on Nov. 9, 1936, to Clarence F. and Erma Meyers Damhorst, he was predeceased by his brother Clarence E. Damhorst and sisters Shirley Cameron and Elaine Boudreau. Father Damhorst donated his body to science. The Memorial Mass is private. Please join a livestream of the service on Wednesday, August 4 at 7:15 p.m.CDT by clicking the "join livestream" link below.

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  • Fr. Joseph E. Damhorst Memorial Service

    Wednesday, August 4, 2021



Fr. Joseph E. Damhorst SJ

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sister JoAn Schullian

August 25, 2021

I have wonderful memories of Joe Damhorst as we grew up in Quincy, IL He was a yr. younger than me. In grade school he was a Boy Scout and also later an Eagle Scout, I believe. Our Girl Scout troupe and the Boy Scouts participated in Square Dances together and other events. Fun times!

Joe played the drums and was a key member of the percussion unit of our Notre Dame High School band. I played French Horn. Our band members enjoyed practicing for County & State Tournaments, marching band events as parades, football games, etc. We had a terrific band director who challenged us to accomplish some marvelous music. Joe was also very active in our high school Student Council where he was a leader. Lots of good memories! I only saw him once after he was ordained. That was at a home parish anniversary celebration at St. Francis Solanus, Quincy, IL many years ago.
May he enjoy his new life with God.
Sister JoAn Schullian, OSF, Decatur, IL

Joyce Bradley

August 4, 2021

Father Joe was a classmate & band member with me at Notre Dame High School. We enjoyed our high school years. Father Joe organized many of our reunions, especially the latest ones. My husband & I saw him more in recent years, whenever he came to St. Louis. He was always so kind and loving. We will miss him, but know he is praying for all of us. Can Ann or one of his family text me their address so I can send a Mass card for him ?

Kathy Carpenter

August 4, 2021

Fr. Joe was “Great Uncle Joe” to me. The memories I have of Great Uncle Joe are of someone who had a contagious, hearty laugh, big smile, and love for all. When visiting him during his time in South Dakota and then in Colorado, I remember how he would always take the time to check in with others and serve those who were in need. He was caring and accepting and his love and compassion for the communities in which he lived was obvious. He will be missed, but his example of how to love and serve will be remembered.

Joseph Lubbe

August 3, 2021

Father Joe was a high school classmate. I think he made every class reunion, always said the mass. He always had an uplifting, pleasant disposition.

Ann Haubrich

August 3, 2021

Father Joe was our dad’s best high school buddy. Ever the odd couple—Father Joe’s towering height to our dad’s compact build—they were joyful, wise cracking fishing and hunting sidekicks to the end of dad’s life. Even after dad died a few years back, Father Joe called mom every couple-three weeks, just to check in and tell her he was holding her close in prayer. We all loved Father Joe and held him in high esteem, so proud our family friend lived a life of service and respect in seemingly far-flung places like North Dakota, Colorado, and Belize. We have many stories of Father Joe and treasure those memories: special meals shared with him in our homes; home Masses and blessings; his return to Quincy to marry our sister and brother-in-law; his easy, big, and beautiful laugh; the gentle and meaningful lessons he imparted; his twinkle-in-the-eye storytelling; his openness and acceptance of each person he encountered. We are blessed by our friendship with Father Joe and grateful to God that he and dad crossed paths early in their lives. (below, a picture of Father Joe at a party in our backyard, celebrating his 25th high school reunion. July 1979.)

Terry Nickel

July 25, 2021

In memory of my friend, my unofficial spiritual director, my hunting and fishing partner, my prayer partner, my teacher. He and I so often spoke about life, it's lessons, and how our God fits into all of it. He taught me so much, through listening to his stories about the Lakota Sioux people and how he ministered to them. He married our son, blessed our homes, sat at table with us, presented many Engaged Encounter weekends with us, and spent countless nights in our home. l will miss him dearly and will always hear his voice say "See you on the other side".

Anne Cameron

July 25, 2021

Father Joe was "Uncle Joe" to me and my three siblings and 8 cousins. He was "baby Joe" to his family, having been the youngest, born a full 6 and 1/2 years after my mother. Joe was a most special person, and we all were graced to know him our entire lives. So many memories: his ordination, his first Mass, family gatherings, family weddings, family baptisms, fishing, hanging out, home Masses, long conversations. Every single one of us adored him, and he made each one of us feel as though we were his "most special" niece or nephew. He took enormous delight in all his nieces and nephews, and especially in the "new generation" of his grand nieces and nephews. Attached is one of my favorite photos of him at our daughter's wedding three years ago, where he performed the same Eagle feather blessing he did at my own wedding 38 years prior. We miss you terribly, but know you are with God, dear Uncle!

Becky Gaughan

July 24, 2021

I first met Fr. Joe 15 years ago when I served as the Director of Liturgy and Music at St. Patrick Parish in Colorado Springs. Unbeknownst to us at the time, our family roots were connected much earlier; his mother was from the same rural Illinois county where I was raised. Fr. Joe was full of joy for his faith, his vocation, and the people he served. Ever the consummate teacher, I ALWAYS learned from his homilies, from retreats with him, and simply from day to day conversations. Despite his imposing stature, he had a gentle and tender nature, accompanied by a welcoming smile, that said, “Let’s get to know one another. I care for you.” Sending our sympathy and prayers to his family for your loss. The Angels have certainly led him to Paradise!
Becky Burling Gaughan (originally from Carthage, IL)

FrRon Garry

July 24, 2021

From a diocesan priest of west river SD, I was blessed to know Joe and to hear his words if encouragement and faith. Such a deep voice and wonderful laugh. May the Lord Jesus bring to completion the good work begun in him