Chaminade Founder and Marianist Educator Joseph A. Rauser dies at the age of 82

Joseph Rauser, former middle school teacher, died on December 11, 2020, at the age of 82. He is survived by his wife Shirley and four children Steven ’91, David ’94, Danielle ’96, and Michael ’98.

Joe was a fixture at Chaminade for 50 years until his retirement in 2015. According to Middle School Principal Mike Valentine, “Joe dedicated himself to Marianist education and, in particular, Chaminade Middle School. He loved teaching grammar, coaching cross-country, and doing acrobatics in the classroom. But more than anything else he loved being around the students of Chaminade. Joe brought great life and energy to every class he taught, and he most certainly did his share of inspiring students to love, learn, and lead.”

Joe was named a Founder of Chaminade College Preparatory in 2015, the same year the Middle School Library Commons was dedicated in his honor. Plans are in the works for a memorial service when we are able to safely gather as a school community.

The following article was originally printed in Chaminade Now, summer 2015

Joseph Rauser began his amazing career at Chaminade in 1963. At the time he was known as Bro. Rauser, having gone through the Marianist Novitiate with Fr. Ted and Bro. Skip in 1958. He was a Marianist through and through, as he was a proud graduate of two Society of Mary institutions, Serra High School in Gardena and Chaminade University in Hawaii. After making the difficult decision to leave religious life in 1967, Mr. Rauser left Chaminade for two years and taught in the public school system. He missed Chaminade and the Marianist culture and was overjoyed when the principal, Fr. John McEnhill S.M., invited him back to teach history at the (then) Canoga Park campus.

The rest is Chaminade history, as Mr. Rauser has committed the last 46 years of his life to teaching the students of our school. That means that this year marks an incredible 50 years of dedication to Marianist education and Chaminade College Preparatory. During his historic tenure at Chaminade “the Rau” has worn many hats: he has been a dean, a dorm director, a basketball coach, and a grade-level moderator. But his greatest areas of devotion have been as an English grammar teacher, a high school and middle school cross-country coach, and the organizer of 8th-grade graduation. For a large portion of his career, Mr. Rauser taught grammar to 8th graders in his inimitable, energetic way helping to lay the foundation for Chaminade’s renowned writing program. He loved teaching his students the nuances of diagramming sentences while weaving in conversations on current events. Nearly every one of Mr. Rauser’s 50 years found him coaching a sport or two along with his teaching duties. His favorite sport by far was cross-country, where he inspired countless Eagle athletes over the decades. Whether he coached boys or girls, middle school or high school, all his athletes were proud to be part of “Rauser’s Runners.” Finally, Mr. Rauser cherished his role as 8th-grade moderator where he presided over all the middle school graduation festivities. He was famous for his meticulous line-up practices and his creative use of the megaphone.

There are those who claim that Mr. Rauser would do anything to make a point to his students, including dancing on their desktops, tiptoeing along the chalk tray, and doing cartwheels across the classroom floor. Certainly, some of the stories of Mr. Rauser’s antics are slightly embellished, but one thing that can never be exaggerated is his love for his students and his commitment to Chaminade. Joseph Rauser has spent his life making an impact on students from the tumultuous 60’s to the technological present. He has seen many changes in education during that span of time, but one thing that has not changed is his passion for teaching and his uncanny ability to connect with young people. For his one of a kind spirit and his unprecedented loyalty to Marianist education, Chaminade is proud to bestow on Joseph A. Rauser, for the second time, the title of Founder.