Joseph G. Dempsey

March 28, 1925 - February 19, 2014 Joseph (Joe) Glenn Dempsey, Petroleum Engineer, Foundation Consultant, civic activist, and beloved husband, father, and grandfather died at age 88 at home on February 19th, anniversary of the Fifth Division's Iwo Jima landing where he was wounded - and unwaveringly convinced that "There is no such thing as a good war." Born in Bartlesville to Oscar and Verna Dempsey, he was reared in Tulsa where the family had moved in 1928. A high school senior in 1942, he qualified to begin Oklahoma University studies by early admission but volunteered for the Marine Corps early in 1943. Honorably discharged in 1946, he married Ivy (aka Ivanell) Lindsay later that year. After earning a BS in petroleum science at TU, he worked in oil production and discovery, pursued post-graduate studies in reservoir engineering and liberal arts (symphonic music a joy throughout his life). A natural leader, he held executive positions with Dempsey Pump, Byron Jackson, and Ivy Petroleum Corporations, and organized the Oklahoma Royalty Exchange. Always civic-minded, he served as the Tulsa Vista Volunteer Board Chair, supported the Church of the Advent youth center, serving as a leader in the establishment of Tulsa Public School's Street School, was active both in Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries and the Tulsa Interfaith Council, in de-segregation efforts in Tulsa, and joined Rabbi Abraham Heschel's Vietnam War Protest in Washington, D.C. A Presbyterian Elder, he continually served as a teacher and church leader at all levels of that church's judicatories, including such General Assembly bodies as the Nature of Ministry Seminar, the Council on Evangelism, and the Advisory Council on Discipleship and Worship. In recent years he had become a strong supporter of the local and national interdenominational movement as a means of building world peace. In 1973, he moved to Los Angeles to become the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Inter-foundation Center (LAIC), which he was able to expand - with support by Peter Drucker - to become the Southern California Association for Philanthropy (SCAP) which served much like a community foundation for southern California bringing over 7,000 foundations together. He later directed the Keck Foundation philanthropic program in California before becoming an independent foundation consultant, testifying on request both for congressional and California committees regarding legislation affecting foundations. A talented athlete (tennis his favorite sport), Joe was always grateful for the encouragement of Coach William C. Lantz, Tulsa Central High track coach and Kanakuk Camp Director. Also active intellectually, Joe consistently read biography, theology, and history (the Civil War a special interest), and in each of his home cities (Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and Tulsa), organized symposia of vital civic leaders, and especially treasured these friends. Joe is survived by the family he tended with constant care: Ivy his wife of 67 years, his children and their families: Mark, Fina, and Aaron (Orangevale, CA); Laura Dempsey Polan (Tulsa) and Sasha (Providence, RI); and, Brian, with Lori Butler (Sacramento, CA), Gaia (Los Angeles, CA) and Lisbeth (Santa Fe, NM). A memorial service will be at the Phillips Theological Seminary Chapel in the main building, 901 North Mingo Road, on Tuesday, March 4th at 3:00 pm, reception following in the Tabbernee Center. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to Phillips Theological Seminary, to Hospice of Green Country, or to the Tulsa Symphony.

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Feb. 25 to Mar. 2, 2014