The life of father joseph l. Tagg, III
Father Joseph Laughlin Tagg, III was born on May 28, 1944 and died on the Feast Day of Saint Joseph, March 19, 2011.
Father Tagg was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Laughlin Tagg Jr. Joseph was a member of the first graduating class of St. Dominic School for Boys. Joseph attended Christian Brothers High School, where he was elected President of the Student Government Association and received the American Legion's bronze medal for honor, courage, leadership, scholarship, and service to the school and society.
Joseph held a passion for sports and was a very accomplished football player. In the fall of 1962, Joseph attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he was elected Vice President of the UT Student Body and President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a capacity which he held for two years. Joseph also hosted the "Jumpin Joe Tagg Show" on a local Knoxville radio station, and he was a two-time best actor in "Carnicus," an inter-fraternity pageant produced each year at Tennessee.
Joseph returned to Memphis in 1967, entering night law school at the Memphis State Southern Law School. Following graduation and passage of the Tennessee State Bar, Joseph joined the law firm of Gerber, Gerber, & Agee, and practiced law until 1974, when he sought his life-long passion of entering the Catholic priesthood. He was selected as a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College of Rome, graduating from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas with a master's in theology.
On December 10, 1988, Joseph was ordained a Catholic priest. His first assignment was at Holy Spirit, where he served for two years. In 1990, Father Tagg began studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa, where he obtained a canon law degree. He completed this degree in 1993, and became one of only a few in the U.S. to hold law degrees in both church and civil law.
He returned to Memphis to serve, among others, as associate pastor of St. Anne on Highland, sacramental minister of Holy Names, and pastor of St. John. Father Tagg also served as the Judicial Vicar, senior canon lawyer, for the Diocese of Memphis.
Father Tagg was best known for inspiring parishioners through every day lessons of courage, directing motivational religious retreats, and fighting for those without a voice. A highly respected legal advisor and prominent member of the Memphis community,
Father Tagg's accolades include serving as Co-Chairman of the Regional Board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ), recipient of the NCCJ Humanitarian Award, founding member of Diversity Memphis, and a member of the CBHS Hall of Fame.