In Memory

Joseph McCloskey (Faculty)

Joseph W. McCloskey, of Evanston, IL, and Philadelphia, PA, died peacefully at his home in Evanston on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the age of 100-plus. He led a wonderful life, marked by dedication to high ideals and a delight in new experiences. He had been the last living crew member in the 23rd Squadron of the 5th bomb group, which carried out 46 missions during World War II.

He taught English literature and composition in two highly regarded high schools, Central High in Philadelphia and New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL, where his love of life, his quick wit and humor, his capacity to tell dramatic, true stories to engender better understanding of the literature studied and yet to teach the highest standards of written English earned him "Superstar" status among his students.

His profound insight into and sympathy for teenagers resulted in their staying in touch with him even 60 to 70 years after they left high school.

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08/26/22 12:54 PM #1    

Charles Heisinger

Cardigan sweaters, starched white shirts, grey flannel slacks, and black fountain pens were hallmark characteristics of Joe’s classroom presence. His descriptions of Dostoyevsky’s St. Petersburg were so penetrating that we could almost smell the stench of the city air. His greatest love was saved for Shakespeare, which he shared passionately.

He was brimming with real life adventures and Irish wit, edited in the 70s, but unredacted later in life for those of us who kept up with him, Bill Hirsch and myself included. His time as a B-24 tail gunner to life in Stratford-upon-Avon made for rich material.  

Evanston eateries, from Jilly’s to Hot Dog Island will miss Joe and so will we. On the day of Joe’s last rites, we wheeled his casket across Niles Center Road, from the funeral home to the church, and watched the reaction of motorists, oddly mirroring what we had experienced in his classroom, that of rapt attention.

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