Joseph W. Glass

Joseph W. Glass

Joseph W. Glass, 90, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, January 3, 2021, at home in Millersville with his wife, Susan.

He was the son of the late Perkins W. and Mary P. (Hayden) Glass. He was born March 4, 1930, in Chambersburg, where he became an Eagle Scout and graduated from Chambersburg High School. He graduated from Millersville State Teachers College in 1953 and earned both a Master of Science degree (1959) and a Ph.D. (1971) from Penn State.

Joe was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, serving from 1953–1955. He was stationed at Sandia Base in Albuquerque, NM, and at the Nevada Test Site at Mercury, NV. He had top-secret clearance to serve as a member of the headquarters company of the Military Effects Group of the Atomic Energy Commission's Operation Teapot-the 1955 atomic tests.

He began his teaching career at Hempfield High School in its inaugural year, 1955, and in 1961 joined the Department of Geography at Millersville State College (later Millersville University), where he taught cultural geography until retiring in 1990.

Joe served as a faculty representative to Millersville University's alumni council and a variety of alumni committees. He was one of six alumni to receive the 1998 Outstanding Service Awards presented by the Millersville Alumni Association. Joe was active in APSCURF, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Retired Faculty, serving as treasurer until his passing.

An admirer of earlier Pennsylvanians, he developed an interest in their largest tool: their barn. The Pennsylvania Barn is unique, with its forebay in front. His studies of this type of barn led to his doctoral dissertation and to his book, The Pennsylvania Culture Region: A View from the Barn. Acclaimed as a pioneer in research on the Pennsylvania Barn, he served as a board member of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania. Joe enjoyed delivering talks about forebay barns to various local groups. He also led field trips and wrote articles about the Lancaster County Amish for local, state, national, and international geographical societies.

A strong believer in supporting the community, Joe served a term on the Millersville Borough Council and was recognized for outstanding service in 1996. In support of residents who have difficulty leaving their homes, he served on the board for Millersville Area Meals on Wheels and delivered meals for many years. The Millersville Lions Club named Joe its Citizen of the Year in 2002. Joe was also a member of Millersville Community UMC Church.

Joe was a devoted fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Eagles, and all Penn State and Millersville University sports teams. He was also a Penn State Master Gardener and never missed a chance to stop at the Penn State Creamery.

He enjoyed taking his family for meals at Bob Evans restaurants, shows at the Fulton Theatre, and ice cream at the Strasburg Creamery.

For years, Joe and several close friends-who became known as "the fishing group"-headed to Canada for an eagerly awaited week of fishing and camaraderie.

Joe and Susan traveled often and would find spots of interest and new things to learn wherever?they went. He took an interest in everyone he met and rarely found a person he couldn't talk to and learn from.

Throughout his life, Joe strived to maintain connections with people-in person and through cards, postcards, letters, and phone calls. He maintained lifelong friendships with many former students and continued to stay in touch with high school friends through annual reunions, most recently in 2019.

Joe had been inspired by his parents, many relatives, numerous friends and acquaintances, and people he read about to be kind and helpful to others, as he would like them to be kind to him. Throughout his life, he tried to help others as he could.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, John, and brother-in-law William Day. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Susan Fulton Glass; daughter Kathryn Ann Craddock (Dale), Cuyahoga Falls, OH; son Thomas Edward (Kanokon), Bangkok, Thailand; daughter Susan Louise Loiseau (Mark), Lancaster, PA; grandchildren Devon Craddock Thew (Dylan), Erin Craddock, Colleen Craddock Doak (Ben), Amy Mattox (David Scott), Marie Loiseau, Danielle Loiseau, and Anatta Glass; great-grandchildren Fiona and Felix Doak and Graham Mattox; sisters-in-law Mary Ann Glass and Sandra F. Day; brother-in-law Richard Terry (Ann); nephews Kurt Glass and Michael Day; and niece Kelly Gray. He is also survived by Catherine (Kitty) Glass, mother of their children.

With health and safety in mind, a celebration of Joe's life will be planned for friends and family later this year.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Joseph W. Glass Geography Scholarship Fund (checks can be made out to "Millersville University Foundation" and mailed to Office of Development, P.O. Box 1002, Millersville, PA 17551; please indicate "Joe Glass Geography Scholarship" on the memo). Contributions can also be made in Joe's name to Millersville Area Meals on Wheels (checks can be mailed to Millersville Area Meals on Wheels, 121 N. George St., Millersville PA 17551) or to the Lancaster Farmland Trust (donate online at

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441 North George Street
Millersville, PA 17551