By SDCNEWS Staff
San Diego, CA–Father Joe Carroll, a beloved priest who fought for decades against homelessness in San Diego, passed away early Sunday morning at age 80.
Today, family, colleagues, and staff of Father Joe’s Villages remembered Father Carroll as a compassionate man who opened his heart to serve homeless individuals and families in San Diego.
“Though I am personally saddened at Father Joe Carroll’s passing, I fondly remember the stories and laughs that we shared, and his legacy will live on in all that we do,” said Deacon Jim Vargas, President, and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages. “Father Joe selflessly and tirelessly served our community for over three decades. We celebrate his lifetime of service.”
“Father Joe’s example was an inspiration for all of us. We are honored to have been inspired by his generosity of spirit and to continue his lifelong commitment to serving San Diego’s most vulnerable,” said Eric Casazza, Board Chair of Father Joe’s Villages Board of Directors and CEO of FMT Consultants.
Under Father Carroll’s guidance, Father Joe’s Villages became the largest and most comprehensive homeless services provider in San Diego.
Father Carroll grew up in New York City, in the Bronx borough, along with seven siblings. In 1963, he moved to Southern California where he entered the seminary. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1974 and devoted the next eight years to parish work before being selected by Bishop Leo Maher in 1982 to lead the St. Vincent de Paul Center, partly due to his knack for fundraising and building community connections. He accepted and spent the next three decades transforming the center into a comprehensive-service-focused organization committed to combating the root causes of homelessness. The organization would eventually bear his name, adopting the name Father Joe’s Villages in 2015.
Father Carroll’s tenure saw the development of the Joan Kroc Center, the first facility of its kind to provide housing, medical care, childcare, meals, and job training under one roof to families and individuals experiencing homelessness, in 1987. The Joan Kroc Center was followed by the Bishop Maher Center in 1989, the Paul Mirabile Center in 1994, and several other subsequent affordable housing apartment complexes through his retirement in 2011. Additionally, Father Carroll’s relationship with the City of San Diego led to further collaborations with the City of Indio in developing Martha’s Village and Kitchen and with the City of Las Vegas on M.A.S.H. Village.
“We will miss his ready smile and warm spirit. San Diego owes a tremendous debt to Father Joe for all he did for our neighbors in need. His memory will always be a blessing to those whose lives he touched,” said Bill Whelan, Board Chair of Father Joe’s Villages Board of Directors.
A private funeral mass will be held with his close friends and family.
Father Joe’s Villages invites the public to join in celebrating the life and work of Father Joe Carroll. Further details about the Celebration of Life and other memorial events will be made available over the next few days.
The public is invited to leave flowers and messages for Father Joe Carroll in a designated space located between 15th and 16th Streets on Imperial Avenue by Father Joe’s Villages’ Joan Kroc Center.