Born in Columbia, S.C., he grew up and attended high school in Morristown, N.J., before matriculating at age 16 at Princeton, where he was a member of Court Club and Deutsch Verein and majored in biology. His thesis was titled “The Effects of Nerve Deviation on Limb Regeneration of the Salamander.” After doing chemical research and earning two master’s degrees in engineering, he attended medical school at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
Soon after arriving in Johnstown, Joel met and married Mary P. Pappas. They were stalwart supporters of a variety of local charitable causes. One of those nonprofits cited Joel as “a humble gentleman and a distinguished surgeon.” That he was the latter is supported by encomiums from his fellow practitioners in Johnstown and an array of memberships in esteemed medical organizations, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Even after he retired, Joel kept working, as a volunteer physician at the Highlands Free Clinic.
Joel is survived by Mary; their five children, David, Jason, Michelle, Andrew, and Philip; 15 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.