After clerking for Oregon Supreme Court Justice Hon. George Rossman,
he taught in the law schools at Ohio Northwestern University, Dickinson, New York University,
and the University of Arkansas; he was a part-time professor at the Northwestern College of
Law (now part of Lewis & Clark College). From 1963 to 1966 he was a deputy district attorney
for Multnomah County, then worked in private practice until 1975 with the firms Reiter, Day;
Morrison, Bailey; and Bemis, Breathouwer. In 1975 he was appointed Multnomah County counsel,
and in 1977 Governor Bob Straub appointed him to the Oregon Court of Appeals, where he was
named chief judge in 1981. He retired from the court in 1992. He was honored for his outstanding
legal career by awards of merit from the Oregon State and Multnomah Bar Associations.
Joseph received Reed’s Foster-Scholz Club distinguished service
award in 2001; he wrote that “I was thrown back in memory to the day when the Governor
called to say that he had just appointed me to the Court of Appeals. The thrill of that only
slightly exceeded the thrill of your message.” In addition to his time as a trustee,
Joseph’s long service to Reed included membership in the 1970–71 search committee
that selected Paul Bragdon, presidency of the alumni association in 1967–68, and membership
in the alumni board’s nominating committee in 1994. He created a Public Service Scholarship
in 1974, and he and his wife, Elizabeth Lyle Starr Joseph, established the George M. and Elizabeth
L. Joseph Scholarship in 1999 for juniors and seniors with a serious commitment to community
Joseph wrote to the college in 1991, “I
think there have been four dominating influences in my life: my mother, my wife, my Reed College
life (and love),
and my supervening curiosity. The curiosity is, no doubt, innate, and it may be inherited;
but Reed supplied the intellectual framework for exercising that curiosity, not particularly
by imposing a discipline but by stimulating the realization that thinking, studying, and learning
are not only enjoyable activities but are the activities that make being a human being worthwhile.”
His community activities included work with legal aid, the ACLU, and
indigent defense, as well as with agencies that include the Oregon Historical Society, the
National Easter Seal Society, and the City Club of Portland. Joseph was deeply interested in
Egypt and made several visits to that country.
Joseph is survived by his wife; by his daughters Kate Joseph, Amy Joseph
Pedersen, and Abbie Joseph-Harrington; his sons Ben Joseph and Jon Joseph; and 13 grandchildren.
Remembrances may be sent to the George M. and Elizabeth L. Joseph Scholarship Fund at Reed.