Tributes pour in for Father Joe Carroll following his death at 80


EL CAJON, Calif. – The passing of Father Joe Carroll has led to an outpouring of support from San Diego County leaders.  

Mayor Todd Gloria weighed in on Twitter Sunday saying, “Father Joe is etched in the history of San Diego. His relentless dedication to serving our most vulnerable saved, and changed, countless lives. His legacy will continue to be written for years to come. He will be sorely missed.” 

Father Joe, who turned 80 this year, was known as the “hustler priest.”  

Kathryn Cloward, author of ‘Father Joe: Life stories of a hustler priest,’ says he tasked her with writing his life memoir.  

“If my story can inspire your life and your life inspires somebody else’s life, that is what we do with our ripple effect,” said Cloward when talking about why Father Joe wanted a memoir written.  

Cloward spent the last two years of Father Joe’s life listening to his philosophy.  

“Father Joe grew up in an apartment building where everybody was everyone’s neighbor,” said Cloward. “He would just knock on someone’s door or walk in.”  

“That kind of neighborly, ‘Everyone is our neighbor, we live together,’ he brought that into the villages and how he saw compassionate housing.” 

Chief Programs Officer of Father Joe’s Villages Ruth Bruland says the news of his passing was surreal because he beat the odds so many times.  

“When he lost his ability to walk, that didn’t stop him, when he lost his legs that didn’t stop him , when his vision started to fade, probably should have slowed him down but it didn’t,” said Bruland.

Senator Toni Atkins also paid tribute on Twitter saying, “He was a bright light of hope and love for our community.”  

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