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1924 Jose 2022

Jose Diaz

August 3, 1924 — June 2, 2022

Jose A. Diaz, 97 of Chambersburg, PA, passed away on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at his home. He was born on August 3, 1924, the youngest of 9 children, to Juan and Cruz Diaz in Carolina, Puerto Rico. He attended the University of Puerto Rico and subsequently moved to the mainland. His first love was the theatre and he eventually received his MFA from Yale University School of Drama in 1952. He directed and acted in numerous productions, including at the Oval in the Grove in Farmington and in various off-Broadway productions in New York.

While working as a cultural attaché in Panama, he met his future wife, Nilka Xiomara Arroyo. She would only agree to move to the United States if they were married so they were married on December 15, 1963 in Baltimore, Maryland, by Rabbi Amiel Wohl, before moving to Queens, New York; they would subsequently remarry in the Catholic Church many years later, with their sons as altar servers. They lived in New York while Jose attended Columbia University, where he ultimately received his Ph.D. in 1967.

In 1968, Jose and family moved to Chambersburg so that Jose could teach at Wilson College. He would teach there for almost 30 years, retiring in 1995. The Jose A. Diaz prize at Wilson College is named after him. After his formal retirement, he continued to teach occasionally as well as work as a certified court interpreter for many years.

Those who knew Jose knew that he lived life to the fullest. He loved people, his family, food and running. He was an early member of the Chambersburg Road Runners Club with his friend Chuck Lesher. He ran his last marathon in a little over 5 hours at age 73. He continued to interpret in the federal courts well into his 80’s. Even as dementia took over his faculties, he was always cheerful.

Jose is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nilka Diaz; two sons, Rodrigo and wife Sara, and Emiliano and wife Cindy; and five grandchildren, Caitlyn, Nicolas, Patrick, Christopher and Elijah. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his 8 siblings.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Fr. Andrew St. Hilaire, on Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 1:00PM at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 320 Philadelphia Ave., Chambersburg, PA. Interment will follow the service in Corpus Christi Cemetery. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Chambersburg.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Service

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Interment

Corpus Christi Catholic Cemetery

Lincoln Way West, Chambersburg, PA

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