Joseph Emory Harlow
Joseph Emory Harlow
  • October 7, 1923 - April 24, 2017
  • Tampa, Florida

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93, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones on April 24, 2017.

Joseph was born October 7, 1923 in Watervliet, N.Y., the eldest of three children born at home to Emory and Bertha Harlow.

He started school at age 4 in Colonie, N.Y. and at 16, graduated from La Salle Institute in Troy, N.Y., where he had become an expert equestrian.

He attended The University of St. Michael's College of Toronto University for three years until he joined the U.S. Army in Nov. 1943 as a Pvt. First Class.

Three weeks later, at age 19, he entered Saint Louis University School of Medicine, where he graduated in 1947. He left the Army in 1945 at the end of WWII.

In July 1947, he started his internship at Jersey City Medical Center, where he met a nurse, the love of his life, Florence Stroebel. Joseph returned to St. Louis in 1949 to start his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

He and Florence were married in 1950 at St. Lawrence Church in St. Louis, where their first son, Joseph Gregory was born.

Finishing his residency in 1952, Joseph enlisted as a First Lieutenant in the US Air Force. When asked for his preference of where he would like to be stationed, he optimistically told them Hawaii, California or Florida.

He was joined six weeks later by Florence and their son at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Two more sons, Daniel and Stephen were born at MAFB.

He left the US Air Force as a Captain in 1955.

In June of 1955, he opened a solo practice in a building owned by Dr. Frank Massari, a classmate and friend at SLU Med School, and ultimately his lifelong friend.

In 1956 he partnered with Eugene Costantino, M.D. where they enjoyed a thriving practice for many years. He then established a solo practice in 1972 and continued until his retirement in 1989.

By then, he had delivered over 7500 babies in Tampa.

So dedicated to his patients and profession, he purchased and used a foldable bicycle during the 1973 gas crisis so he could be guaranteed to get to the hospital when his patients went into labor.

Many times he would have to take his wife and children to the hospital while he delivered a baby or two.

He devoted his time to taking care of patients from Catholic charities.

Also devout Catholics, Joseph and Florence raised their four children as members of Christ the King Catholic Church.

A self-taught artist and wood carver, he has left many funny drawings and carvings for the family to enjoy.

There was not a magazine, newspaper, napkin, notepad or paper towel in their home that didn't have his drawings all over them.

He taught himself to ride a unicycle at the age of 50, play the harmonica and play the steel drum, which was a gift from a grateful patient.

He enjoyed hunting, attempting fishing and for a while, raising cattle at the family ranch in Brookesville.

He loved Western movies so much so, that those are the only movies he would take his family to see in the theater. Marty Robbins songs would play on the record player as the family ate breakfast after Sunday Mass.

He was an avid golfer, loved playing with his wife and his friends and was a member at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club since 1960.

In 1985-86, Joseph was asked by the popular radio show The Q-Zoo on WRBQ, where his daughter Gloria was employed, to do the voice of a controversial sociologist, Dr. Robert Larkin, who would spout insane ideas and cause quite a controversy in the Tampa Bay area.

He reluctantly agreed. While the script and his lines were initially written for him by Bill Connolly, he used his own inimitable sense of humor to veer off wildly and create even more ridiculousness. He absolutely loved doing it.

Dr.Harlow spent his last years doing his favorite activity: smoking his ever-present cigar for hours on end talking with everyone in his neighborhood.

His sense of humor will never be forgotten by anyone who ever came in contact with him.

He loved potatoes.

Joseph was predeceased by Florence, his wife of 48 years, and his younger brother, George Harlow, D.D.S., Wynantskill, N.Y.

He is survived by his four children, Greg(Jane and children Cody and Julia), Dan(Kathy and children Kara, Thomas and Michael), Stephen(Molly and children Jensen and Adam) and Gloria(John), his baby sister, Marilyn 'Miss' Rhodes of Naples, FL, sister-in-law Dorothy Borchers, Midland Park, N.J., many nieces and nephews and his loving, selfless, wonderful and not-enough-words-to-decribe companion of many years, Judy Mast.

The family would like to thank Judy Mast and her daughter Robin Gladis for their invaluable, unwavering support and love over the years, Jeff Darrey, for his devotion, prayers and twice-weekly Eucharistic visits to Dr. Harlow and to Milagros Milly Torres, who, almost single-handedly kept 'Doc' not only well, but thriving and loving life.

Viewing at Blount & Curry Funeral Home, 605 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa on Monday, May 1 from 6 to 8 pm.

Funeral mass will be celebrated at Christ the King Catholic Church, 821 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa on Tuesday, May 2 at 10 am.

Donations may be made to Catholics for Cameroon, 100 E. Madison St., Suite 300, Tampa Florida 33602.