Joseph Matthew East

Joseph Matthew East of Galveston (BOI) and Dickinson died on Wednesday, January 12th at 94 years of age.

He was born to Joe and Hannah Whelton East in Galveston on December 12, 1927 and attended St. Patrick’s Elementary and Kirwin High School. Joe moved to Dickinson in 2007 with his devoted wife Dolores.  They were blessed with a 56-year marriage.

He is also survived by sons James (Elizabeth) East, Michael (Jean) East, and Joseph (Stacy) East, and daughters Therese (William) Cleaver, and Catherine (John) Stansfield.  He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Bernard.

Joe loved his family and his children have made him a grandfather 17 times and great-grandfather to 23.

He was employed as a steamship agent for Biehl and Company of Galveston retiring in 1991 after 41 years of service.  Joe always wanted as a young man to have a career in the Coast Guard. As required by law, he registered at 18 years of age, and was called at 19 for the draft.

Reporting to the draft board in Houston with three friends, “the army tested us, gave physicals, and I was rejected because of size and weight.” In summer of ’46, he went to New Orleans where the Coast Guard was interviewing. “The doctor looked at me, weighed me, and told me to go home and eat a stalk of bananas before coming back.”

In 1947 he learned of the V6 Program in the U. S. Navy. The navy physician said if he could get a doctor to stipulate his small size was not a medical problem and certify he was healthy they would accept him in the Naval Reserve.  Joe served 8 years – USS PCE 874 and USS Haas (DE424) and Naval Station in Orange on flood relief duty.

Joe was an amateur radio operator (K5 MDI) licensed in 1957.

He was active in the Propeller Club of Galveston and a member of the Elks Lodge. After retirement Joe enjoyed hunting, camping, cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas, traveling to Hawaii and touring Ireland, Scotland, England, France and Italy.

Visitation will be held at Crowder Funeral Home Dickinson 5:00 – 7:00 PM, Wednesday, January 19th with a rosary at 7:00 PM.  A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 AM on Thursday, January 20th, at Shrine of the True Cross Catholic Church in Dickinson. Burial at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Dickinson.


  1. To the family… my deepest condolences.
    I did not know him nor the immediate family, however I know some of the grandchildren and met Michael when he traveled with his son Trey to my son’s home in upstate NY for an engagement photo shoot. Sounds like he had a well-lived long life. I appreciate his determination to serve and thank him for his service. May he RIP. 💕

    Bonnie Roycewicz
  2. I was so sorry to hear about your dad James. All of your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Love you and Elizabeth!

    Lenora Isom

    Lenora Isom
    • We are very sorry for your loss. Godspeed in your recovering from this. Take the peace Jesus gives us all in knowing that your father has been given the ultimate gift, the gift of life everlasting.

      With sympathy,

      James and Ginger Cesarini
      Maggie and Joey

      James Cesarini
  3. Wonderful man, family and Galveston neighbor. Thinking of the family.
    The Garcia Family

    The Garcia's
  4. My sincere condolences to the East family. I worked in the Biehl Houston office and Joe always took the time to answer my questions about ship info, etc., and to share family updates. Will keep him in my prayers.

    Mary Ann Guerrero
  5. To Dolores and family my deepest condolences.

    Joe was a wonderful man who loved his family and was a good friend to me.

    Joe was the best ship agent that Biehl Galveston ever had. This opinion was shared by a number of ship Captains as well as office staff in my company Marine Transport Lines. Running into Galveston for 20 years on the M/V Marine Duval I had many happy times with Joe. He would always come on the ship with a smile, a handshake and the Galveston newspaper. I will miss him.

    Capt. Gerard P. Carroll

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