Joseph Martin Roman
1939 - 2020
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Joseph Martin Roman

April 5, 1939 - Nov. 9, 2020


Joseph Martin Roman, 81, of South Bend, IN, passed away on Monday, November 9, 2020 at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, IN following an illness.

He was born on April 5, 1939 to the late Joseph E. and Mary D. (Denewellis) Roman in Joliet, IL, and has lived in South Bend since 1969. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Francis “Frankie” Thiel and Bernard Roman.

On September 1, 1962, he married Donna I. Roman at St. Mary's Carmelite Church in Joliet, IL.

Joseph is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Donna I. Roman of South Bend, IN; three daughters, Jodi “Marie” (Patrick) Gault of Littleton, CO, Toni “Chuppa” (Frank) LaBate of Denver, CO, and Elizabeth “Boo” Roman-Housand of Mishawaka, IN; one son, Joseph Frances Roman of South Bend, IN; four grandchildren, Samantha R. (Mike) Lindeman, Nicholas A. Gault, Jacob B. Housand, and Benjamin D. Housand; one great-granddaughter, Nora Athena Lindeman; two sisters, Geri (John) Palmer of Joliet, IL and Mary (Steve) Marshall of Joliet, IL; a half-sister, Renee Roman; a half-brother, Michael Roman; and a sister-in-law, Wendee Thiel of Plainfield, IL.

Joseph graduated from Joliet Township High School Central in 1957, and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University. He played football while attending high school and college. Joe loved sports. He also enjoyed the challenges of playing handball. He began playing in his teens at the YMCA in Joliet, IL, and continued playing until 2010 in South Bend, IN.

Joseph was a career salesman throughout his life, and retired in 2012. His most recent job was at Carleton, Inc (1982-2012), where he sold association and alumni directories. He was recognized as the #1 salesperson in this industry, all the while epitomizing the company's core values, and maintaining lasting friendships with his work family.

He was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan all of his life. Joe also coached Little League through Pony League baseball while living in Joliet. His star shortstop was his brother Frankie, and did they have fun! Joe took his team all the way to the Little League World Series in California, and they finished second in the country.

Joe was a passionate Notre Dame football and basketball fan, attending games as a season ticket holder, or simply watching from home. And who could forget the legendary 35+ years of tailgating, while serving fabulous food, and the infamous bloody mary cocktails? He was a people person, and so enjoyed talking sports.

Joe was extremely proud of his heritage. He was a longtime member of the local National Italian American Heritage Society. Throughout the years he served on many committees, was an officer, and had received the annual prestigious “Columbus Award.” He was also instrumental in assisting and participating in their annual golf outings which raised money for their purpose: to assist local students in the area with college scholarships.

He partnered with Coach Mcleod, the head basketball coach, and shared his creative idea of having a booster club for the basketball program. They called it The Three Point Club. It consisted of guest speakers, and a luncheon before the basketball games. It was a great success!

Joe dedicated more than TV time to his ND passion. He was on the Board of Directors for the Notre Dame Quarterback Club, and later became president in the 1997 season. The luncheons were held in the hockey arena in the ACC. He was so proud to represent this organization, and arrange programs and guest speakers. He also was in charge of a committee for the seating arrangements. In the Lou Holtz era, they had 2500 attendees for one of the home game luncheons.

Joe was blessed with many lifelong friends. They called him the “go to guy” and the “best of the best.” He was not a fan of mediocrity, and always helped his friends achieve their highest potential.

Joe will be remembered as a great family man. He was proud of his son, especially for his thespian goals; and his three daughters and their families - four fabulous grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

Due to the pandemic, services will be announced at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 7023, Merrifield, VA 22116-7023 or the American Heart Association, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674 https://

Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, IN is handling arrangements. To send condolences, please visit

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Published in South Bend Tribune on Nov. 22, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
November 24, 2020
Joe was my coach for two years at Ingalls Park during the 60’s. He was a knowledgeable coach and a really nice guy that made playing baseball fun. Even though that was 50 years ago, I still remember the positive impact he had on me.
Ernie Minarich
November 21, 2020
I am so sorry to hear the passing of Joe. He was a very nice man and my friend. May Joe Rest In Peace, God Bless You will be Missed ❤Dominic Vella
Dominic Vella
November 21, 2020
Because I graduated with Joe’s wife from JTHS, I did know Joe. Not only through his wife but his flawless reputation. God rest his Soul. Prayers and deepest condolences sent your way.
Judy Anderson-Liberty, Bob Liberty
Judy Anderson-Liberty
November 21, 2020
Donna.....I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Joe. ND, South Bend, and all of us tailgaters affiliated in this group, lost a great one. He had that infectious smile, the gift to gab, and always called a spade a spade. Made so many friends at the tailgate, was like family. It’s 40 years I will never forget. You & your family take care & God Bless.....Shep
Don Shepherd
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