An Extraordinary Man – Taken Far Too Soon



We got word this afternoon that our Deacon and friend, Joe Marotta, drowned while on vacation with his family.

It is a vivid and painful reminder that life is not fair.

Joe leaves behind a tremendous and tenacious wife, Katie, and five young children.

After years of study, prayer, and preparation, Joe was ordained as a Permanent Deacon last fall.  Pictured below, he is with Katie and their youngest son, William, as they started to process at the beginning of his ordination in October.

Ordination_ProcessionI pray for Katie and their children: Caroline, Christopher, Jack, Michael, and William.  Their loss is immeasurable.

Personally, it is difficult to overstate the respect I have for him as a father, scholar, and spiritual leader.

Of all the pastors, preachers, and deacons I have met in my limited time on this earth, no one brought the richness and depth of Christianity home to me like Joe.  It is not even close. That is not hyperbole. That is in my heart and in my soul.

Joe was instrumental in introducing me to the history and tenets of the Catholic Church, leading me and several others through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults during the winter of 2006-07.  He welcomed me and the questions I brought in from outside of the Catholic community.

I could talk with him about football in one moment, fatherhood in the next one, and the Letters of Paul in the one that followed.

After his ordination, he began to give occasional homilies at Mass. And he was tasked with giving one on the Sunday following the school shooting in Connecticut, only two months after his ordination.  He successfully navigated the tones and emotions that followed the tragedy in his message that day, and it was clear to me that his hard work, dedication, and prayers prepared him to lead.

He leaves a tremendous void in his family and in our church.

The photo below was taken around the time of his ordination last fall. It captures his spirit and outlook perfectly.  It will be the image that I keep with me for the rest of my time on this earth.

May God bless our departed brother, and may He bless Katie and the children.

Thank you, my friend. You will be one of the first people I look for when I make it to the other side.

Deacon JoeJoe was a 1996 graduate of the College of William and Mary, and he maintained a blog at


About seansublette

Meteorologist at Climate Central. Broadcast meteorologist in Virginia from 1995 to 2015. Born and raised in Richmond, VA. Penn State alumnus. Loves baseball and the rock band Rush. Views are independent of my employer. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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16 Responses to An Extraordinary Man – Taken Far Too Soon

  1. Shirley Rosser says:

    Sorry for your loss. Wishing you comforting memories, love & prayers.~Shirley Rosser

  2. Jane Ross Davis says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your church family at this time as well as with his wife and family. May the promise of our Lord and Savior bring you comfort.

  3. Debi says:

    Thanks for this, Sean. We had seen postings saying goodbye to Joe but nothing about what had happened. The sermon you mention was definitely a work of grace.

  4. Thank you for this, Sean. Joe is one of my Deacon brothers. We love the guy. We are heart broken by this loss and pray fervently for his immortal soul, for his wife Katie and for the kids.

  5. Robyn says:

    so sorry for your loss Sean. I thank you for sharing about this extraordinary man of God.

  6. Sheila Wallis says:

    Thank you, Sean. Very well said.
    From a fellow Parishioner, someone who also holds Joe, Katie and their children in the highest esteem.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for posting this. Joe was a wonderful coworker too, and the Randolph College community will miss him.

  8. Lori Ogten says:

    I don’t know him or his family but my heart goes putty to them.I pray that the Lord will bring them peace and comfort.

    • Lori Ogden says:

      I didn’t know him our his family but I pray the Lord will bring them peace and comfort.

  9. Lori Ogden says:

    I did not know him but I pray for his family.I pray they will have peace and comfort from our Lord.

  10. Jeanne Craig says:

    Thank you for this wonderful tribute to Joe. My husband will be ordained in October and Joe’s friendship meant a great deal to him. So many people will miss him terribly! What a wonderful man.

  11. Bea Clauss says:

    I also did not know him personally, but my daughter spoke very highly of him and his precious family. Our heavenly father will be by their side always.

  12. Dianne Braford says:

    Thloughts and prayers go out the Katie and her children and to Dr. Powell and Debbie for their loss.

  13. Peggy Marshall says:

    So very sorry for your loss. Prayers for Katie & children.

  14. Renee Lin says:


    I dd not realize that you kept this blog until I followed the link at Deacon Greg Kandra’s site. Neither did I realize that Joe had been instrumental in bringing you into the Church. I quoted from Deacon Joe’s homily in my blog post on the Connecticut tragedy, thinking as you did that he preached well on that day. When you stand up to read the Scriptures to us, I will remember Joe and thank God for a life well-lived. May we all live so well.

    May Jesus Christ be praised in all things.

  15. Pingback: A Death in the Family: Deacon Joe Marotta—UPDATED

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