Joe Grilliot

Joe Grilliot passed away peacefully at home on January 27 surrounded by his family. He had many roles during his lifetime but will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend.

Rosary and visitation will be at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 1001 East 52nd Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64110 at 5 pm on Friday, January 30. Funeral mass will be at 10 am at Saint Francis Xavier. In lieu of flowers, send donations to

Joe was born on January 26, 1932 in Syracuse, Kansas to James and Barbara Grilliot. He told frequent stories about growing up on a farm during the Depression and Dust Bowl. After his father’s death in 1945, he went to a seminary in Brunnerdale, Ohio and was ordained a Precious Blood priest in 1959. After serving as a priest in Vinita, Oklahoma and Cleveland, Ohio he volunteered to become a missionary priest in Chile in 1963. Working in rural communities in southern Chile, Joe “fell in love with the people of Chile”. He was well loved by the people he worked with. In 1970, he felt that he could serve the Church and the poor better as a layperson.

On September 11, 1971 he married Lidia del Carmen Seguel in Chile and then they moved to Kansas City where they spent their married life together. Joe worked as a warehouseman for 19 years raising two sons, Marvin and Charlie. He and Lidia also opened their home to several other people over the years. He often only half-jokingly said that Lidia saved his life several times – physically and spiritually. He worked hard in his vegetable garden, roto-­tilling and cutting grass. Additionally, he always found ways to help others including recycling cans for churches, helping resettle recently arrived immigrants and refugees and using assorted trailers and pick-­ups to be helpful. He was committed to social justice in many ways working for peace through nuclear disarmament and his intentional choices to live simply and be hospitable to others.

In 1991 he began working at Unbound (formerly Christian Foundation for Children and Aging) where he served as a homeless shelter supervisor and all around building man. He retired in 2001 but maintained his relationship with Unbound through sponsorship, friendship and riding his tricycle to the volunteer center. After his retirement Joe stayed active travelling (he always visited people not places), and praying and volunteering at Holy Family Catholic Worker House.

He was a long-­time member of St. Francis Xavier Church. After the death of Lidia and Charlie in 2009, he moved in with his son Marvin, daughter in law Rachel and his three grandchildren Samuel (10), Benjamin (7) and Magdalena (5). Tata was adored by his three grand-­children. They loved playing and joking with him and listening to his stories about the “olden days”. He was always creative and practical making many things like chess pieces from nuts and bolts, bicycle racks from PVC pipes and coat hooks from high heel shoes. In various ways, he supported ministries of those working with the poor and for justice until his death.

He kept a feverish correspondence with many people on his manual typewriter from which he also wrote poetry and stories. Joe was a person of many talents and interests and was always open to learning. His deep faith led him to action and contemplation and to live life well and confront death fearlessly. He had a wonderful sense of humor, was loyal and faithful in his relationships, a devoted servant to the poor and a passionate environmentalist. He brought people together, he was a bridge builder. Many will remember his humility, farmer hands, bright blue eyes and love for a good meal and celebration. In all things, he was “un buen pobre”.

He is preceded in death by his brother Jimmy and many others and will be missed by his sisters Ann Smith, Mary Gerard, Zita Brummel and brother Tom and many others. Among so many others, the family would like to thank Kansas City Hospice and Unbound for their support.

Visits: 1


  1. Kathleen Tomlin on January 28, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Will miss U Uncle Joe, you were the best and most fun. I’ll never forget our Montana trip! Enjoy heaven with Lidia and Charlie and all others!! Love U

  2. Rebecca Duckers on January 28, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss Grilliot family. After reading Joe’s obituary I wish I would have gotten to meet and know this wonderful person. You are all in our thoughts and prayers!
    the Duckers family

  3. Amy Ablian & Gina Gleason on January 28, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Words cannot begin to express how much Joe will be missed. When we think of him, the first thing we see is his beautiful blue eyes and amazing smile. We know that the past few years were a challenge for him but now he is joined with his beautiful wife and wonderful son. He never missed giving us a hug, whether it had been a day or months since we had seen him. Joe, Lidia, Charlie, and Marvin welcomed us into their home and family from the first time we met and for that we will be forever thankful. Thank you for all of the memories.

  4. Megan Hope on January 28, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Absolutely beautiful in every way. What a wonderful life! Wishing everyone who loved Joe consolation and inspiration, now and always.

  5. Barb Martin on January 28, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Uncle Joe was the most compassionate, fun-loving, generous, joyful, neatest person ever. We will miss you, but are celebrating with you as you rejoin your family & friends who have gone before you. Marvin, Rachel – blessings to you & your family during this time….looking forward to some great times with your “extended” family in Colorado!

  6. Mary Beauchamp on January 29, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Our sweet Uncle Joe will be greatly missed! I will forever cherish the wonderful memories of this loving, fun, sweet and compassionate man! Marvin, Rachael and kids – we look forward to your visits to Howard as you carry on the legacy of this great man! Love and prayers to all of you!

  7. karen (jeep) waggoner on January 29, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Marvin, Rachel and family

    sending condolences from the family
    to your family. i loved Joe and will miss his visits and his wonderful sense of humor. Hope i can find away to be with you at this time. I will be there in Spirit. Love

    Jeep and Jerry Waggoner

  8. Karen Smith on January 29, 2015 at 11:23 am

    You will be missed BIG TIME, Uncle Joe! Thank you for all of the memories that will stay forever in my heart!! I know that you are up in heaven now with Lidia, Charlie, your Mom and Dad all those that have passed from this world. Marvin, Rachel, Sam, Ben, and Magdalena, you are in my thoughts and prayers at this time. His light will keep on shining!!

  9. Ann (Grilliot) Smith on January 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I’m going to miss this brother of mine; he has always been very “special” to me, from the time he was an onery little kid until the present. He has lived a good life in his 83 years, and there was always a unique quality about him that everyone loved. May the good Lord continue to be with you and your children, Marvin and ‘Rachel.

  10. joe hanish on January 29, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    When you were with Joe you knew you were in the presence of a special person. And he didn’t have to say much for you to know it.

  11. Kim MacDonnell on January 29, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you so much for sending the obituary, Barb. He must have been a delight to the family. A lover of God and of people is always a great combination and sounds like he had both in spades. Love to you all.

  12. Sharon Barber on January 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Barb, thank you for sending me this notice to share in his wonderful, joyful, compassionate life. The Lord certainly used him in a variety of ways and he was most useful in God’s hands, led by His Spirit and a very joyful servant of the Lord. My prayers continue for all of the family! With love to each of you!

  13. Debbie Myers on January 29, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Dear family of Joe,
    Others share in the loss of such a fine man. Ann, Barb, and Kathleen, we can only imagine the closeness your family enjoyed. A gift that can be passed on and shared with others. You will be together again someday!

  14. Matt + Babs on January 29, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    What a life! And what a gentleman. You can feel the love and kindness radiating from the photos. We are honored to know Joe and celebrate his life.

  15. Stan Grilliot on January 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    You will be missed by so many people Uncle Joe!! I’ll never forget our trips to KC every Thanksgiving, great memories. Marvin and Rachel, God bless you and your family, you are in my thoughts and prayers!

  16. Joanna Smith on January 30, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Uncle Joe, you will always live in our hearts. Thanks for being a great uncle and always taking the time to care. You never lost your adventurist spirit. We will carry you with us, always. Marvin and Rachel and kids, God be with you in this difficult time. We are here for you.

  17. Brad and Dawn Grabs on January 30, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Joe had such a beautiful soul, a true incarnation of the goodness of our Creator! We will miss his gentle, humble, loving presence, but we will be inspired by his example for the rest of our lives.

  18. Alisha Hall on January 30, 2015 at 9:44 am

    What a godly man and inspiration to those around him. May we all strive to love God and live simply. Prayers for peace and comfort to the family he left behind. He will certainly leave a big hole in the lives of those he touched.

  19. Brent Boydston on January 30, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Such a wonderful man, so lucky to have known him. Sending love and prayers.

  20. Melissa Reynolds on January 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    What a beautiful man! What a beautiful life! What a beautiful testimony of faith! How richly God has blessed all who knew Mr. Grilliot! Thank you!

  21. Tony Julie Sam Luke and Jude on January 30, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Joe’s brightness is reflected in the loved ones he leaves behind. Our love and prayers are with you.

  22. Fr. Joseph E. Mulligan, SJ on January 30, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Dear Marvin, Rachel, and children,

    I join you in celebrating the wonderful life, deep love, and commitment to justice of your Dad.

    Now I have a better idea of the roots of those qualities which you have and which I saw so beautifully during your time here as Jesuit Volunteers.

    I give thanks for Joe and for you, and I pray that the Lord will strengthen you during this difficult time.

    Thanks to NCR for the great article.

    Joe Mulligan, SJ
    In-Country Coordinator of
    Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Nicaragua

  23. Rich Thiel on January 31, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Joe, you were the same facing death as you were embracing and engaging life–with directness, calm, thinking of others, open, strong, a touch of humor and with that ever-present warmth and love. I’ll treasure my last conversation with you always. Marvin and Rachel and all the Grilliot family, thinking of you, and about how blessed you have been to have such a man in your lives. Love to you all.

  24. Amy Smith on February 1, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Marvin & Rachel: I am sorry for your loss. May the good Lord be with you in this difficult time. It’s hard to fill the void in your life when a loved one dies. But Uncle Joe lived life to the fullest. The thing I think I’ll miss most about Uncle Joe is his silly sense of humor! He was always so positive & compassionate. A great inspiration!

  25. Deb kunkler on February 1, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Marvin. I just got the news today about your dad. I truly loved him and your mom very much. Loved when you guys would come and visit us in Ohio. If you ever have the opportunity to make it this way, please look me up. We could relive our badmitten games. You have my sincere sympathy and praying for you and your family.

  26. Shandin & Patrick Duffer on February 3, 2015 at 10:24 am

    We are so sorry for your loss. This was so beautifully written, what an inspiring man.

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