Cover photo for Joseph G. Skelly's Obituary
Joseph G. Skelly Profile Photo
1935 Joseph 2021

Joseph G. Skelly

June 2, 1935 — December 11, 2021

Joseph G. Skelly, 86, of New Cumberland, died peacefully Saturday, December 11, 2021, surrounded by loved ones. Joe lived a full life dedicated to helping others and was cherished by many. Born in Oil City, PA to Daniel and Ruth Skelly, he is survived by Barbara Skelly and their three children, Mame Skelly and her significant other, Nicholas Kitchens; Meghan Skelly and her significant other, Timothy Seeley; Stephen Skelly and his wife, Tamara Weiss, and his two beautiful granddaughters, Lyla and Olive Skelly; his sister, Julie Fries; his nephew Robert Fries and his niece Annette Royce and their families; his nephews Christopher and Gregory Culbertson and their families; and his former wife, Sheila Petulla.

Joe was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received his Juris Doctor degree at Villanova University School of Law. He started his career in his native town of Oil City and moved to Harrisburg to join his former law school professor, William Bentley Ball, in the practice of law. They co-founded the law firm of Ball & Skelly, later known as Ball, Skelly, Murren & Connell. In the civil practice of the firm, which spanned over twenty-five years, he also served as the firm’s managing partner. In 1999, Joe founded the Skelly Dispute Resolution Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and was one of Central Pennsylvania’s leading mediators and dispute resolvers.
Joe was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, PA, where he loved his students and taught dispute resolution and law practice management. He was a frequent lecturer on the subjects of dispute resolution, ethics, professionalism, and quality of life issues for lawyers.
Joe was a member of the American Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Dauphin County Bar Association, Association for Conflict Resolution, the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators and served on numerous committees. Joe was rated AV Preeminent, the highest possible rating given by the leading peer review organization for lawyers in the United States.
A professional interest as well as a personal avocation, Joe dedicated much of his life to working with others suffering from the disease of addiction and helping those in recovery. He was a founding director and member of the Board of Directors of Pennsylvania’s Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. He served as a delegate from PA to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs, where he had attended numerous educational programs relating to addiction and recovery. He was a tremendous help to many.
Above all, Joe found his greatest joy spending time with his beloved family and friends, watching Notre Dame football and relaxing on the beach.
A Celebration of Life reception will be held on Sunday, December 19, 2021 from 2pm – 4pm at Community United Methodist Church, 1601 Bridge Street, New Cumberland.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 AM on Monday, December 20, 2021, at St. Theresa Catholic Church, 1300 Bridge Street, New Cumberland, with the Rev. Jayasaleen Amalanathan as celebrant. All guests are asked to wear a mask. A private burial will be held at a later date in Oil City, Pennsylvania.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the M. Patricia Carroll Fund (helping members of the legal profession in crisis) PO Box 1233, Media, PA 19063 / or the Caron Foundation, 243 N. Galen Hall Road, Wernersville, PA 19565 / For additional information or to send messages of condolence to the family please visit

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, December 19, 2021

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Monday, December 20, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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