case western reserve university



February 20, 2014

Longtime faculty member Joe Pyles, 94, has passed away

2014 Joseph Pyles.jpgIt is with great sadness we share the news that Joseph Pyles (MSSA, 1952) has passed away at the age of 94. Well-known in Northeast Ohio as a social worker at the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Families, the Catholic Counseling Center of Cleveland, and Metro General Hospital, he was also a longtime member of the Mandel School faculty and a mentor of Dr. Jerry Strom.

But long before all that, Joe was a Buffalo Soldier of the 92nd Division in World War II. Unlike his white Army counterparts, Joe, as a person of color, was not allowed to carry a loaded gun, boarded the bus in the rear, and was served out of the back door of local cafes. In 2012, he told The Plain Dealer about his experiences facing prejudice while defending his country. Read the interview and watch a video:

His friends at the Mandel School recall his memories of his wartime service, noting that Joe was assigned to Italy and made friends with families there that he continued to visit for years after. As a field education adviser and adjunct faculty, Joe mentored many, many students and was always kind and interested in their welfare. He stayed active, playing tennis well into his 80s.

The wake for Joe Pyles is tomorrow, February 21, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Anne's Church in Cleveland Heights, immediately followed by a funeral service at 10:30 a.m.