In loving memory of

Joseph S. Bekelja
August 30, 1937 - May 29, 2019

Joseph S. Bekelja, 81, of Collegeville PA, passed away on May 29, 2019 after a long battle with cancer.

Born in Harrisburg, PA on August 30, 1937 to the late Joseph S. Bekelja Jr. and Mary A. (Varga) Bekelja, Joe was preceded in death by his younger brother L. Michael "Mickey" Bekelja. Joe is survived by his wife Barbara (Uram) Bekelja, son Joseph S. Bekelja IV and his wife Nicol (Vidota) Bekelja, and grandson Joseph S. Bekelja V.

Joe graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1959, and Georgetown School of Law in 1962. He practiced law from 1962 until illness forced his retirement in 2017. Throughout his distinguished 55 year career, Joe was considered the preeminent attorney in his field. Joe was recognized as the initial recipient of the Philadelphia Bar Association Workers Compensation Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding and sustained contributions to the legal profession, exemplary professional practice, mentorship, and positive impact on his colleagues.

Joe will always be remembered for his vast knowledge on many topics, kindness, quick wit, and sense of humor. During his retirement, Joe enjoyed spending time with his family, reading, politics, watching game shows, and was an avid college football fan. On Saturdays during football season, he could always be found cheering for his alma mater Notre Dame.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his viewing at Urban Funeral Home 1111 S. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, PA 19002 on Wednesday, June 5 from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. On Thursday June 6, a viewing starting at 10:00 A.M. and Mass of Christian Burial starting at 11:00 A.M. will be held at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 40 Spring Mount Road, Schwenksville PA 19073. Internment to follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 3301 W. Cheltenham Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19150.

For those wishing to make a donation honoring Joe's memory, please consider giving to the Sisters of the Visitation, 5820 City Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19131 or Best Friends Animal Society

Tributes and Photos may be shared at


John D Ball III Esq, PA Bar ID 54978, worked for J wrote on Jul 31, 2019:

"I discovered this while recently searching for Joe Bekelja for some legal advice, even 27 years after I last saw him, and from the other side of the world. I worked for him for two years, 1990 to 1992, and I remember him as (most importantly) a kind-hearted and honest man and (of second importance) a wise and shrewd trial lawyer. Alas I never got to know him much personally, but what I knew of him was good, and as I think he was a Catholic like me (I remember his impossible name's origin was from Croatia) I shall pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary for his soul. I am, John Donald Ball III, Esquire, in Western Australia"

Marshall Haislup wrote on Jun 4, 2019:

"I extend my deepest condolences to Barbara, JB, and the entire Bekelja family. Joe was my mentor for 30 years and my friend for life. What a wonderful man! He was the master of his craft, second to none. I know I am the confident professional that I am today based on Joe?s mentorship and kindness. Joe was kind to all, extremely intelligent, quick with a joke and the biggest Notre Dame fan I ever met. I love Joe and I am so thankful he came into my life. -Marshall Haislup"

James Pearn wrote on Jun 2, 2019:

"I am sorry to learn of Joe?s death. I worked with him when I was an attorney for the State Workmen?s Insurance Fund. He was an outstanding lawyer and a great gentleman. I know he will be missed. James Pearn"