Deacon Joseph Michael Conrad Jr. Obituary

Death-notice-picture-2x2-for-webDeacon Joseph Michael Conrad Jr., of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, passed away on August 8, 2014. He was 78 years old.

The viewing and the funeral mass will be held at St. Luke Catholic Church, 4925 East Capitol Street, S.E. in Washington, D.C. on August 18, 2014. The viewing will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will be followed by the funeral mass at 11:00 a.m.  The Most Revered John H. Ricard, SSJ, Bishop Emeritus of Pensacola – Tallahassee will officiate. The Rite of Christian Burial will immediately follow the funeral mass at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 13801 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Stewart Funeral Home in Washington, D.C.

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 16,1936, Deacon Conrad graduated from Xavier University Preparatory High School and received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Xavier University of Louisiana. He continued his studies at many institutions in Washington, D.C. including economics at George Washington University; management at the Brookings Institute; and theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary. He also studied urban planning at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts through a Community Fellow Program.

Joseph Conrad was married to Bernadine Ann Barard on July 28,1962. They were married 52 years and renewed their vows on their 50th wedding anniversary at St. Luke Church.

Deacon Conrad’s professional career spanned more than 40 years in the federal government working in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, Louisiana with the majority of his federal service being with the Small Business Administration (SBA). In 1978 SBA chose Deacon Conrad to lead its Louisiana office, making him the SBA’s first African-American District Director in the South. He also held several management positions in SBA’s headquarters promoting minority business development throughout his career. During his tenure at the SBA, he developed and implemented several new SBA programs promoting the development of minority-owned businesses and received the SBA Silver Medal for Meritorious Service and many other awards. Prior to working at SBA, Deacon Conrad worked at the Department of Labor, Civil Service Commission and the Department of Commerce. He also served in the Army for 3½ years. He retired from federal service in 1995.

In addition to being a civil servant, Deacon Conrad was also a servant of God. He and 22 other married men, after studying for two years, were ordained on September 11, 1971, in the first class of permanent deacons in the United States. His first assignment as a permanent deacon was at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Washington, D.C. Additional assignments included St. Joseph’s Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. His last assignment was at St. Luke Church under the Josephite Order, which was instrumental in ensuring that the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a permanent deaconate program. In 2011 Deacon Conrad celebrated his 40th year serving as a permanent deacon.

Deacon Conrad’s involvement in the Catholic Church began well before he was ordained as a permanent deacon. He was the assistant director of the choir at St. Luke when the choir sang in Latin and more recently he served as the spiritual advisor for the church’s Holy Name Society. He was also a longtime altar server in elementary and high school in New Orleans at Corpus Christi Church.

Deacon Conrad is survived by his wife Bernadine; children Joseph M.Conrad III, Monique Conrad O’Grady, and Melinda Conrad Brown; daughter-in-law Lynette Seraile Conrad, son-in-laws Michael O’Grady and Andre Brown; grandchildren Andreas Brown, Sandaa Brown, Caitlin O’Grady, Brittany O’Grady, Michael O’Grady Jr., Emmanuel Conrad and Raphael Conrad; siblings Shirley Conrad and Fritz Conrad; a host of nieces and nephews other family and friends.

Deacon Conrad is preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Manuella Conrad; sister Anne Conrad, twin sister Joanna Conrad and brother Melvin Conrad.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be sent to the St. Joseph Society of the Sacred Heart, a congregation of priests and brothers whose exclusive mission is to serve the African-American community, located at 1130 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 or at

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