Faithful missionary devoted life to others

Brother Joseph Urban, 1936-2008

Urban,_Fr_Joe_for_webBrother Joseph Urban, 72, a Divine Word Missionary, died Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008, in Techny, Ill.

"Whatever assignment he received, Brother Joe carried out his work with great care," said Father Adam MacDonald SVD, vice-rector of the Techny community. "He faithfully accepted God’s will."

Brother Joe, the third and youngest child of Joseph and Margaret (nee Cleaver) Urban, was born in New Orleans, La., in 1936. As a boy and youth, he attended grammar school at St. Alphonsus and studied upholstery-working at L.E. Rabouin Vocational High School in New Orleans.

In 1954, he moved to Techny and three years later professed his first vows as a member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). In 1960 his first assignment took him to Marburg, Australia, where he professed his perpetual vows in 1963.

Following three years as a cook, tailor and maintenance engineer in Marburg and Epping, Australia, Brother Joe returned to the United States, where he served the communities of Techny; East Troy, Wis.; and Bay St. Louis, Miss.

In East Troy for 12 years, Brother Joe taught CCD at St. James in Mukwonago, St. John’s in Twin Lakes, and St. Robert Bellarmine in Union Grove. He also volunteered to work with children with intellectual handicaps, and he actively served the Knights of Columbus as a fourth degree knight and as assistant chaplain. Devoted to the Knights of Columbus, he founded their East Troy chapter.

In 1973, Brother Joe spent six months in Rome studying moral theology, Old and New Testament, missiology and sociology as part of the SVDs’ spiritual renewal program.

Later, he accepted a transfer back to Techny and became guest master, chauffeur and kitchen director of the SVD residence. In the early 1990s, he performed similar duties at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Bay St. Louis before retiring at Techny.

Brother Joe is survived by his sister, Margaret Bonck of Metairie, La., and a sister-in-law, Grace Urban of Independence, La. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Donald J. Urban. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for the care of retired missionaries may be sent to The Rector, Divine Word Residence, 1901 Waukegan Road, P.O. Box 6000, Techny, IL 60082-6000.

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