Joe Gilmore (1943-2020)

The Rev. Joseph Gilmore, 76, of Beacon, died on Dec. 17.

Born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 26, 1943, Joe worked in a steel mill as a young man. His father, a steel mill supervisor, instilled in him a love of opera and Shakespeare.

Joe Gilmore

Joe Gilmore

Joe’s passions included music, poetry, the night sky, hiking, his family, the God of light and social justice, his family said. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1968.

In 2013 he retired as senior minister of South Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry after 30 years of service to that congregation. During his tenure, he founded Midnight Run, which now coordinates more than 1,000 volunteer relief missions a year, bringing food, clothing and friendship to homeless people in Manhattan.

In the 1990s Joe was deeply involved in the struggle for equal rights for LGBT people in the Presbyterian Church USA. He risked losing his ordination when he performed same-sex marriages before gay marriage became legal in the denomination. He also founded the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry at South Church.

He was a fiery celebrator of life, a revered teacher and healer for countless people, and a deeply grateful man, his family said. He said, “Let ‘Alleluia’ be our walking song; let ‘Thanks!’ be our last word.”

Joe was known by his congregations as a most eloquent, provocative preacher, and a writer of prayers that many have collected and turned to over the years, his family said.  He had a unique ability to make people feel connected to the “God beyond all the gods, Mother light to all light, Kind creator of this world…”

He is survived by his wife, Rachel Thompson, his daughters, Schuyler Ford (Chris) and Adrienne Galeas (Bryan); his stepsons, Django Wexler (Casey Blair) and Cody Wexler (Diana Raimondi); and his grandchildren, Jack Galeas, Mia Wexler, Chloe Wexler and Stella-Grace Ford.  He is also survived by his siblings, Ron Gilmore, Cramer Gilmore and Elizabeth Nara (Tom).

Services will be private. Memorial donations may be made to Midnight Run (

Information provided by Clinton Funeral Home

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