Joe Tseng-Gill

Born: San Antonio on 12 October 1956

Passed away: Rancho Mirage on 11 January 2021

Aged: 64 years

Service Details

Sorry, due to COVID-19 we will not be having a memorial service for Joe. Please post a tribute below to share.

The Story

Joe loved life, some of his favorite things include:
* Spending time with his family, playing board games
* Vacationing in Maui
* Cruising, especially unlimited crispy bacon at the breakfast buffet
* Shopping of any kind, but he loved the hunt in second-hand shops
* Drinking Diet Coke
* Playing his piano and singing for the family
* Caring for people as a nurse
* Loving JoJo, our chubby shih tzu that passed away in November 2020
* Going fishing

* October 12, 1956, born in San Antonio and was quickly adopted by Hildegard and Joseph Gill
* Graduated from Trinity University with a BA in voice performance
* Graduated from Texas Women's University with his RN license
* Was an ER/ICU travel nurse in several cities in Texas
* Moved to San Francisco and was a nurse in SF General AIDs ward & SF County Jail, became a nursing supervisor in a nursing home, detox center for the homeless & Saint Francis hospital, and eventually an inspector for the State of California, licensing and investigating complaints in hospitals and nursing homes
* Joined the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus
* May 1998, adopted Elaine with Gerry shortly after her birth
* Received his BA and MA from San Francisco State
* Connected with his birth family
* Received his Doctoral in Management from University of Phoenix (ABD)
* August 24, 2013, married Gerry
* Transferred his job to Los Angeles, and moved so that Gerry could care for his sick father
* Transferred his job to Riverside County and moved to Cathedral City
* January 11, 2021, at 6:33 PM, passed away due to COVID-19 (4.5 weeks being sick, last 2-weeks in the Hospital, last 6 days in ICU), he fought long and hard, but just continued to decline until he had multiple organ failures, and the likelihood of recovering at all was very very slim, and if by a miracle he were to recover, he would have to live in a nursing home with an advanced oxygen system, would not be able to walk or talk.

Joe and I discussed end of life preferences since we got our first Domestic Partnership "license" in 1996. He was very pain adverse and did not want to live a severely restricted life, let alone live in a vegetative state. It was so very reassuring to know that Elaine and I were able to fulfill his last wishes.
If you do not have an advanced directive, I would encourage you to not only get one so that your family has a written document outlining your desires, but also discuss your desires with your family. If you do not want extreme life-saving interventions, doing both will save them from having to struggle with your end of life decisions and their residual lifelong guilt. Doing this is a generous thoughtful gift to your loved ones.
Joe was a very strong person, having overcome many surgeries and health issues. We had no expectation that COVID would be his cause of death. He was only 64 years old. If you are age 18 or older you should have an advanced directive. Imagine the conflict a parent feels if their adult child was in a horrible accident and having to make these end of life decisions. On one hand, they want their child to survive at any cost, but on the other knowing that doing so will more than likely result in their caring for their child in a vegetative state and costing them all of their life savings.
The form that I like is available for free from UCLA. The form is acceptable by all healthcare organizations. It should be witnessed by two people or a notary for full legal standing. But simply signed, it does communicate your desires in writing to those who have to make medical decisions on your behalf.

If we had to do this over again, before going to the ER, we would first see if any of the hospitals in our area allow for a visitor at the end of a patient's life. Most hospitals do not allow this in ANY COVID ward, or ICU. This policy was not the desire of the medical staff, but rather an administrative decision to protect them from any liability and to make their staff's job easier. It is cruel, inhumane, and uncaring of these profit-driven organization's legal advisors and administrators.
COVID is a lonely pandemic. First, we are isolated and discouraged from meeting face to face; next, if you get sick you are totally isolated at home or in the hospital; finally, you die alone with no family there to care for you, express their love to you, say goodbye to you, etc. We were fortunate to be able to FaceTime Joe's passing. However, it was brutal and a far second from being able to say goodbye in person.

Canada, China, Bahamas, Brazil, France, Grenada, Grand Cayman, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Portugal, Saint Martin, Spain, & Thailand.

IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, Joe would appreciate it if you would make a small donation to either of these organizations:

* Human Rights Campaign, a nation-wide non-profit supporting the rights of the LGBTQ community
When making our donation to HRC, please fill in their Send Notification of Gift to- Gerry & Elaine Tseng-Gill, [email protected], 35602 Tranquil Pl, Cathedral City, CA 92234

* Operation Smile, an international non-profit that repairs people born with a cleft lip and/or pallet free of charge, primarily in developing countries; Elaine was born with a bilateral cleft palate (inside her mouth), and without the repair, she could not eat enough to sustain herself.

* Elaine Tseng-Gill, his daughter
* Gerry Tseng-Gill, his husband

I will continue to update this page with more information about Joe's life. If you have any dates or details you feel should be included, please email them to me at [email protected] I would like your help in listing surviving members of his adopted family and half-siblings of his birth family.

Please feel free to write your own tribute to Joe below. Please feel free to share this page with Joe’s friends and family.

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Brooke Tiano


Please know we are praying for your family. Peace and comfort to you all.

Janet Steinkamp


Dear Elaine-chan and Gerry,

Our deepest sympathy to you on the passing of Joe. We were so lucky to have you as part of our JBBP family. Joe was a sweet man, a dedicated dad, and he always had a smile for each of us. He will be missed. We are thinking of you.

With Love,

The JBBP Sensei and Teachers

lisa tsukamoto


When I think of Joe, I can see his smile....his laughter....his jolly way. He was such a good friend and it was quite shocking to get the news. I told him I was going to visit him at his new home. alas. That is not to be. Thank you for the memories, Joe. To Elaine & Gerry, Joe always had something to share about both of you. That's how much he loved you both. Condolence.

Helen De Villa


Dear Gerry and Elaine,
You have been on my mind and in my prayers these past few weeks. I appreciate your thoughts about the lessons that you learned through this difficult situation. My aunt also passed away and my uncle was not allowed to be with her. It's truly heartbreaking. I pray that God will comfort you both as the days go on. I know you have family and friends who love you so. I have always enjoyed celebrating holidays and special times with your sweet family. God bless you. Rest In Peace, dear Joe.
Jill Moreci & family

Jill Moreci


Jill Moreci shared a photo.


Tom Talmon


It has been almost 2 weeks since getting the news of Joe's passing and I still can't believe it. Death of a loved one these days seems so surreal. There is no saying goodbye. No ceremony. No closure. Almost seems to be an exercise in protocol and efficiency, void of feeling and emotion. I suppose, for now this "post" will have to suffice as the only place where we can greave and express our loss and our love for someone whom we will never see again. It's not fair, but it is what it is. Writing this, I realize that I miss Joe more than I thought as I find myself with tears dripping onto my glasses. Joe and I spent little time together as we lived far from each other. Mostly our paths crossed at family get togethers and on the occasional family cruise or ski trip. Joe was always "down to earth" and interesting to listen to. Best of all, he was the best person to ever come into my brothers life. He was the "Ying" to Gerry's "Yang so to speak. I am sure Gerry & Elaine will miss him greatly. I can't imagine losing my partner. It would hurt terribly. I with I could do or say something that could make the hurt go away or diminish, but I can't. I give Gerry and Elaine a big virtual Hug now, and a "rain check" for the real thing when it is safe to do so. Love you guys. Joe was one of a kind and I will miss him. We all will.

........ Tom (Gerry's brother)

Tom Talmon


Elaine and Gerry, I'm so sad to hear about Joe's passing and send my deepest condolences. I'll always remember Joe's calm and sweet demeanor in elementary school meetings and at the first aid station at Undokai!

What a beautiful and thoughtful description of the importance of Advance Directives as well. Thank you for that and for caring so much about others in your own time of sorrow. I'm sending you both a big hug.


Esther Honda


Gerry and Elaine, Joe will be missed by family and friends.Remember the good times. It helps. Love, Mary

Mary Conner