Joseph Gavin

Obituary of Joseph M. Gavin

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Joseph M. Gavin passed away February 17, 2024, in Naples, Florida after a brief illness at the age of 95.  


Joe, son of Joseph A. Gavin and Pearl Kelly Gavin was born in Trenton, NJ on June 19, 1928. He was raised in Morrisville, PA and attended local schools before graduating from Pennington Prep.  At Pennington he excelled in athletics, achieving all-state honors in basketball.


Joe enlisted in the U.S. Navy, post World War II, and served primarily in Europe during this transitional time. He was extremely proud of his Navy service which he credits in great part for his career success that followed.


Joe graduated from Temple University where he played varsity basketball under legendary Coach Harry Litwak and was an integral part of their success in the early 1950’s. Joe was a teammate of All American Bill Mlkvy who was the collegiate leading scorer and rebounder at the time. Mlkvy, for those who may remember him, was known as “the Owl without a vowel.”


Joe began his professional career in 1953 as a student teacher in the Pennsbury school system. His hard work and enthusiasm led to a permanent teaching position and an eventual 35-year career at Pennsbury. Joe was best known as varsity basketball coach, a position he held for 15 years. Not only was he a successful basketball coach, but Joe also prided himself on coaching life skills to his players to help them be successful in their later lives. Even until his passing, Joe was affectionally known as “Coach” to his many friends. While at Pennsbury Joe also served as an Assistant Principal, Athletic Director, and Director of Adult Education and Community Recreation. He was exceedingly proud of his induction to the Pennsbury Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.


During his early years at Pennsbury, Joe met and subsequently married the love of his life Joan Carroll. They enjoyed being with their many friends whether it be Yardley, PA, Long Beach Island, NJ, or Hobe Sound, FL.  They were married for more than 50 years prior to Joan’s passing in 2009.


Joe was an avid golfer and longtime member of the Yardley Golf Club where he served on the Board of Directors as Vice President and made many longtime friends. After moving to Hobe Sound, he continued his golf at Heritage Ridge Golf Club where many former Yardley members spent their retirement years. He later was a member at Hammock Creek Country Club where he made many more friends.


Joe was an enthusiastic Philadelphia Eagles fan who rarely missed a televised game in the last 50 plus years. Few Sundays passed without Joe placing a small wager with his “accountant” on the Eagles. After his retirement from Pennsbury, Joe spent many years at Vet Stadium as a host in the Modell Sporting Goods Box. In addition to his other endeavors Joe enjoyed visiting casinos and playing video poker. Even at the age of 95 he was an occasional visitor to the local Native American Casino where, in typical Joe Gavin fashion, he was a frequent winner.


Joe was predeceased by his mother and father, wife Joan, brother Thomas Gavin and sister Patricia Gavin Haggerty. He is survived by sister Kathleen Gavin Waldron and husband Charles E. Waldron of Naples, FL and several nieces and nephews.


A memorial celebration of Joe’s life will be scheduled for later this year.  Arrangements are under the care of Fitzgerald Sommers Funeral Home 17 S. Delaware Avenue Yardley, PA 19067. Condolences for the family can be left at