November 22, 2019

Ziff, Permanent Deacon Joel M.


1932 – 2019

Deacon Joel M. Ziff, retired permanent deacon, died on November 20, 2019, as a result of complications from renal failure.  He was 87 years old.  He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Rosanne (nee Nagle); five children (James, John, Peter, Mary Beth, and Michael); 14 grandchildren; and 3 great-grandchildren.

Deacon Ziff was born on October 10, 1932.  He was raised in Upper Darby, where he attended Saint Alice’s grade school.  He graduated from West Catholic High School and later enrolled at Saint Joseph’s College.  Upon graduating in 1956 with a degree in accounting, he entered the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of captain.  Deacon Ziff was a retired CPA/partner with the accounting firm, Arthur Andersen.  Following his retirement in 1988, he became the chief financial officer for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.  He held this position until he retired in 2012.

Deacon Ziff was ordained at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on June 3, 1990, by then Archbishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua.  He was assigned to Epiphany of Our Lord Parish, Plymouth Meeting from 1990 until 2002.  He was then transferred to Saint Titus Parish, Norristown, where he remained until his retirement in 2009. 

Deacon Ziff participated in the Catholic Cursillo movement.  He served the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on the Cardinal’s Commission on Human Relations and the Committee for Parish Pastoral Councils. In addition, Deacon Ziff volunteered for medical missions in Haiti and Peru. He served on the Board of Directors for various institutions, including the Catholic Health East Hospital System, where he was chairman; Saint Ignatius Nursing Home; the Sisters of Saint Francis; the Sisters of Saint Joseph; Saint John Vianney Hospital; Gwynedd Mercy University; Neumann University; Saint Joseph’s University’s President’s Council; LaSalle College High School; West Catholic Preparatory High School; and Project HOME. At Saint. Joseph’s University, he established a scholarship and was inducted into the Haub School of Business Hall of Fame.  Deacon Ziff was also a member of the adjunct faculty of LaSalle University, where he taught Health Care Management.

Reception of the Body and a viewing will take place at Epiphany of Our Lord Church, 3050 Walton Road, Plymouth Meeting, Sunday, November 24, 2019, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  A second viewing will be held on Monday, November 25, 2019, beginning at 9:30 AM, followed by his Funeral Mass at 11:00 AM.  The principal celebrant and homilist will be Reverend Bernard C. Farley.  The Deacon Assisting at the Liturgy of the Word will be Deacon John T. Riordan.  The Deacon Assisting at the Altar will be Deacon Emil J. Wernert.  Interment will be private and will take place at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken.