Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Dr. Julian Joseph

August 1, 1929 - June 8, 2020
Grand Rapids, MI



Monday, June 8, 2020
4:00 PM EDT
Live Stream
Ahavas Israel Cemetery


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Congregation Ahavas Israel
2727 Michigan St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
(616) 949-2840
Web Site

Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids
2727 Michigan St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
(616) 942-5553
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Julian (Buddy) Joseph of East Grand Rapids passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 8, 2020, with his loving wife, Judith Joseph, by his side. He treasured time with family and was devoted to his three children (Allen (Polly), Elisa (Steve), and Fred (Mary)) and eight grandchildren (Marissa (Andrew), Hannah (Jack), Brett, Jenna, Ben, Jacqueline, Emily, and Lauren. He was thrilled just two weeks ago to welcome his first great-grandchild (Beverly).

Buddy was born on August 1, 1929 in Scranton, Pennsylvania and grew up there. He attended Harvard College, majoring in history and literature, which were among his many lifelong passions. He attended medical school at New York University and became a pathologist. While at NYU, he met the love of his life, Judy, and they got engaged after only six dates. Over the first 18 years of their marriage, they lived in New York and New Jersey, with a two-year stint in Maine while Buddy served as a naval base doctor in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They moved to Grand Rapids in 1973 and have loved its combination of friendly people, professional and cultural opportunities, outdoor activities, and community. Buddy worked as a pathologist at St. Mary’s Hospital for 26 years, until his retirement at age 70.

Buddy was deeply engaged in community. He was passionate about Judaism. He was a dedicated member of Congregation Ahavas Israel, where he served as Men’s Club president, Board member for several terms, Librarian for 18 years, and Torah reader for 20 years. He served as a docent at the Grand Rapids Museum for more than 10 years and was the long-term Treasurer of the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Western Michigan. Buddy sang in the Shir Shalom Chorus for 34 years. He was a lover and patron of Grand Rapids performing arts. An avid reader with a keen intellect, he was always up for a lengthy discussion about any topic.

Buddy was a great role model to his family, friends, colleagues, and communities. They will remember him for his love of family and friends, commitment to learning and education, work ethic, generosity, philanthropy, caring nature, honesty, sincerity, energy level…and for his infectious laugh.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to Ahavas Israel or the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids.