Joe was born in McIntyre, PA on March 4, 1929 to Julius Sokol, Sr. and Kara Bercellie. The son of a coal miner and Hungarian immigrants, Joe had an unwavering work ethic, an impressive inner strength, a strong belief in education as the best path forward, and a lifelong commitment to serving God, his family, community and country.
Joe graduated from WVA University with a BS in Education. It was there where he discovered his voice and his love of the stage. These gifts would provide future opportunities as well as entertainment and amusement to family, friends, and colleagues throughout the years. Following graduation, he enlisted in the US Army in 1953 and continued his service to his country for an additional 20 years in the National Guard, retiring with the rank of Captain.
During his army basic training, he met the love of his life, Elizabeth (Bette) Ann Estock. Their twin boys were born while Joe was stationed in Japan. He did not meet his sons, Joseph Jr. and John Michael, for the first year of their lives but once back home he rarely left his wife’s side for the next 65 years.
As he began a career in education after the army, Joe and Bette added another son, Steven, and a daughter, Mary Kathleen, to their family. It was a challenging and creative opportunity with Washington County Schools that brought the family to their country home just outside of Hagerstown. Joe was part of team that would bring televised classroom education to middle school students across the county, a stage and role that he embraced. The pilot program ended 5 years later and Joe completed his 37 year career in education as a middle school history teacher at Clear Spring Middle.
Joe was devoted to his faith and made sure that his four children completed their K-12 education through St. Mary’s and St. Maria Goretti schools. Sometimes working two side jobs to make that happen, Joe still found time to produce radio mass each Sunday for St. Mary’s Church for many years.
Joe loved traveling. He would pack up his young family every summer and camp for 3 weeks, visiting as many states and iconic attractions as possible. When he retired, he continued his camping adventures with Bette, visiting every state except Hawaii. He loved dancing with Bette, fishing at their vacation home in Florida, and watching Jeopardy, old westerns and musicals, as well as Perry Mason. He was happiest at home, on his land in the woods, his wife by his side. He was infinitely proud of his children and grandchildren.
Joe touched many lives. His was a life well lived. He was a man well loved. We were all proud to call him dad and grandad.
Joe is survived by two sons, Joseph Sokol Jr. and John Michael Sokol and his wife, Linda (Haynes) Sokol; a daughter, Mary Kathleen Greco and her husband, Ron Greco; four grandchildren, Laura and her husband, Nitin Yadav, three grandsons; one step grandson James and his wife Wendy with great-granddaughter Aurora; brother in law, Paul John Estock, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bette; his son, Steven Sokol; his daughter-in-law, Melody (Kline) Sokol; his brother, Julius Sokol; and his sister-in-law, Paula Estock.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at 10:00 am at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 224 W. Washington St., Hagerstown with Rev. Fr. Ernest Cibelli as celebrant. Burial will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery.
Family and friends will be received on Monday, February 6, 2022 from 6-8 P.M. at Rest Haven Funeral Home, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown, MD.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Steven Sokol Memorial Scholarship Fund at St. Mary's School, in Hagerstown.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to the staff of Visiting Angels, Right at Home and Hospice of Washington County. Your care and empathy for Joe was greatly appreciated by all family members.