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Joseph E. Shirk Jr., Gibbstown LL Coach, Div 1 Football Referee, National Guard

Shirk, Joseph E., Jr., - 85, of Ocean City, NJ (formerly of Gibbstown, NJ) resident of Ocean City, NJ for over 25 years, and Palm Beach, FL, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 27. Born in Woodbury, NJ on March 18, 1936, to the late Joseph and Dorothy Shirk of Thorofare, NJ. 
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Joe was a 1954 graduate of Paulsboro High School, Paulsboro, NJ. He was active in 4 sports, lettering in Track and Football, receiving All-Star awards in Gloucester Co., Colonial Conference, and Group III leagues, earning him spots in both Gloucester Co. and Paulsboro H.S. Hall of Fame. 
Joe was a past Administrator and baseball coach for 15 years in Gibbstown Little League where both his sons played. He also coached on the only (at the time) two District Championship Teams, the 1972 Little League-Big League Team and the 1975 Senior League Team.
Joe was an avid athlete running and lifting weights almost his entire life beginning in his teens. He became interested in and began football officiating in 1960 with Midget Football. He soon advanced to high school officiating as Referee. He was chosen to work the first South Jersey Championship in the Atlantic City Convention Hall in 1972. Joe served as both the President of the South Jersey Officials Assn. and the Camden Chapter of the N.J. Football Officials Assn. He served 10 years as Commissioner of the Tri-County Midget Football League which comprised 58 + teams and 1,500 players. He was the recipient of Sport Magazine's "Sport Service Award" presented to him on KYW- TV (Phila.)
For most of his adult life, Joe was best known as an outstanding football official. For 20+ years he was a Division I football referee serving as crew chief in games involving LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, USC, Notre Dame, all the Military colleges et al, and worked several bowl games including the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX.
Shirk retired after 40 years of service from Mobil Research & Development Corp. as Transportation Supervisor.  He then continued working part-time for 13 more years with Erco Interiors in Somers Point, NJ as a construction estimator. He was a proud member of the NJ National Guard/Army for 6 years with two activations, the last being the Berlin Wall crisis in 1961 where he served as Staff Sgt. He enjoyed his over 25+ year retirement by traveling with the love of his life, Carolyn, and sharing in their son's successes, and enjoying the time spent with their three grandchildren as they were growing up and their successes into young adults.
Joe is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 62 years, Carolyn, known as " the best call of his life" in officiating jargon. He believed she was the key to his success with her total support in all areas of his life. Surviving are his sons John (Susan) and Jeffrey (Jennifer) and three grandchildren, Jason Shirk, Gretchen (Ryan) Johnson, and Juliette Shirk. Joe was predeceased by his brother James Shirk in 2018. His Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Tuesday morning, May 4th at 11 o'clock from St. Augustine's RC Church of St. Damien Parish, 13th Street at Wesley Avenue, Ocean City, NJ where friends may call from 9:30 am until the time of mass. Entombment will follow mass in Holy Cross Cemetery, Mays Landing, NJ. If desired memorial contributions in Joe's memory may be made to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FCA Cape Atlantic, Pox Box 535, Ocean City, NJ 08226. For condolences to the family please visit
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Published by The Press of Atlantic City on Apr. 30, 2021.