W. Joseph Doran


                                      February 13, 1921 – November 29, 2017

W. Joseph Doran, a member of “The Greatest Generation,” died on Nov. 29 just a few months shy of his 97th birthday.  Born on February 13, 1921 in South Bend, IN, he returned to his hometown after his tour of duty in the Navy during WWII. He joined the South Bend Fire Department (SBFD) where he served in positions from Private to Assistant Chief.  In 1953 he married Geraldine Piasecki, who predeceased him in 2009. Together they had three children: Anne M. Doran of Indianapolis, IN; Mary Doran Senft of Carmel, IN; and Joseph M. Doran (Karyn) of Mishawaka, IN.  They had three grandchildren: Lisa M. Senft (Sebastien Chamarande) of Chicago, IL; Joseph P. Doran of Bloomington, IN; and Margaret F. Doran of Mishawaka. His parents William B. and Margaret (Burns) Doran, along with his siblings John P. Doran and Sister M. Gabriella Doran, CSC, also preceded him in death.  Joe carried on a long family tradition of public service in the Navy and SBFD, retiring in 1968 after 22 years on the Department. He was also elected St. Joseph County Clerk in 1970 and elected as St. Joseph County Treasurer in 1978.  At the end of his tenure as County Treasurer, Joe continued to work well into his 80’s performing various part time positions for the City of South Bend.

Joe was a lifetime community leader in South Bend. He was instrumental encouraging and promoting the participation of women and minorities both in volunteer, employment and elected capacities within local government and the Democratic Party. He was St. Joseph County Democratic Chairman and was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by both Governor Evan Bayh and Governor Joseph Kernan. Regardless of his position, he always worked to improve his community and to lend a hand to others.  A man of strong faith, Joe served St. Joseph Catholic Parish of South Bend in many capacities, including raising funds to sustain the Parish and its grade school.  Baptized in the Parish and graduating from its grade school, his funeral service will be held there on Monday, Dec. 4, with calling beginning at 10:00 am followed by a Mass Christian Burial at 11:00 am.  Internment will be at St. Joseph Cemetery immediately following Mass.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Parish or to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.  Regardless, remember him by voting in every election!

Joe loved his family, the South Bend community and the Democratic Party.  He leaves behind a legacy of a strong family, a better and more diverse City, and a lifetime of memories which we will cherish.  Thank you, Joe – you will be missed.

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