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June 25, 2003

La Salle University Professor Joseph F. Flubacher,
Economics Teacher for 50 Years, Dies at 89


Joseph Flubacher, (seated left), posing in 2002 with David Poiesz, a former student who helped found the Flubacher Scholarship, and Klebér S. Niza, the 2002-03 scholarship recipient.
Joseph F. Flubacher, a legendary economics teacher at La Salle University for 50 years, died Monday of congestive heart failure at Cooper Medical Center in Camden, N.J. He was 89.

A 1935 graduate of La Salle College with a degree in economics, Flubacher worked at La Salle as the President’s secretary while earning a master’s degree at Temple University. He joined La Salle’s economics faculty in 1938, and later earned an Ed.D. in economics from Temple. He retired from teaching in May of 1988. For many years afterward, he visited the campus weekly, and was involved with Sigma Phi Lambda Fraternity.

“Joseph Flubacher was a true ‘icon’ of La Salle University,” said Brother Michael McGinniss, President of the University.“He personified the discipline of economics for thousands of La Salle alumni over a lengthy, successful career as a teacher and department chairperson. He championed the Catholic and Lasallian concern for human dignity and social justice by paying particular attention to the tradition of papal social teaching initiated by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, and continued in our time by
Pope John Paul II.

He modeled those great principles in everyday life in all his dealings with his students and his colleagues in the faculty, staff and administration.”

“To his very last days, he maintained an active interest in his beloved
La Salle and its students, particularly those in the Sigma Phi Lambda Fraternity, of which he was a member. The Christian Brothers honored Joe's lifetime of commitment to La Salle by making him an affiliated member of their religious order. Joe Flubacher gave his life to La Salle University and we are forever indebted to him. For myself I am very proud to have known him as my teacher of freshman economics, my faculty colleague, my friend and fellow Lasallian,” said McGinniss.

In 1998, he received the Signum Fidei medal from La Salle’s Alumni Association. The award, which takes its name from the motto of the Christian Brothers, “sign of faith,” isgiven annually to a person who had made a contribution to society. Other recipients include former Senator Eugene McCarthy, Kenneth Gamble and the Rev. Leon Sullivan. In 2000, Flubacher received an honorary doctorate from the University.

In 1996, The University started a scholarship in his name, given annually to a senior economics major. Flubacher also received the Lindback Distinguished Teacher Award at La Salle.

“Nobody was as good a teacher as Joe Flubacher,” said Dr. Joseph Mooney, a former student and colleague of Flubacher’s at La Salle. “He got me interested in economics. He was a wonderful teacher, and that’s why so many of his students have so much loyalty towards him.”

Mooney recalled that, “I don’t think there’s anybody who didn’t like him,” adding, “he was a man of class, always impeccably dressed.”

John Grady, another former student and colleague in La Salle’s economics department, said Flubacher had a method for conducting departmental meetings. “When we’d complain about how much work we had to do, Joe would start listing all the things he did, and with his last gasp he would say, ‘and I coached the (La Salle College High School) debate team!’ That’s when we knew the meeting was over.”

A Philadelphia native, Flubacher grew up in the city’s Olney section not far from La Salle’s campus. He attended Incarnation of Our Lord grade and middle school, and graduated from Northeast Catholic High School, where he is in the school’s Hall of Fame as an educator.

A bachelor, Flubacher is survived by a niece Rosemary A. Gallagher, a nephew, James E. Gallagher – both of whom were graduated from La Salle -- and Gallagher’s wife, Christine.

Funeral services were held on Friday, June 27 at the Church of the Holy Name, 260 Conrow Rd., Delran, N.J. Internment was at Holy Sepulchre in Cheltenham Township, Penna. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to La Salle University.