Source: Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 8(1983)4(360-361)

Obituary Notice: Rev. Joseph Micallef Lic. D.

I was really shocked on Saturday, 27th August 1983 to learn of the untimely demise of my good friend, Fr. Joseph Micallef or, as he was more popularly and affectionately known. Dun Guzepp. I felt a certain emptiness for I felt that I had lost not only a respected colleague but a real friend in the truest and fullest meaning of the word.

I count myself fortunate that I knew Dun Guzepp, more so since on the number of occasions - including on the eve of his death when we met at the Notarial Archives in Valletta - I benefited from his advice and, at time; consoling words. He always had the appropriate word for the particular occasion or situation and I am sure that there were many other fortunate people who, during his lifetime, profited from his advice and counsel as was amply shown by the great number of people from all walks of life who flocked to Luqa to pay their last respects.

But Dun Guzepp was not just an exemplary priest: he was a conscientious teacher and educator who always strove to do his work properly and carried out his duties to the best of his ability. Colleagues and students are now that much poorer. In particular, one could not but admire his humanity and humility

In the academic field. Dun Guzepp also proved his worth. His properly researched and painstaking works are second to none. His two books about his beloved village Luqa, Hal Luqa Niesha u Grajjietha and Rahal fi Gwerra his monograph about Hal Safi and his social history of Malta during the Second World War entitled When Malta Stood Alone are first-class works. Above all, Dun Guzepp had become a social historian, a mantle which well befitted the character of a man who loved his fellow human beings and felt mostly at home when he could discretely help his neighbour without fuss or fanfares. When he died, he had started to prepare a social history of the Great Siege of 1565 and he had finished the manuscript for a history of the Great Plague of Malta in 1676. Happily, this last work is in print. I have read the manuscript and can vouchsafe for the tremendous amount of research it contains. I sincerely believe that this posthumous publication will be a fitting tribute to one of Malta's foremost social historians. One must not omit his historical novel, Ghaxar Snin Wara, based - appropriately enough - on his native Luqa and dealing with social problems caused by the Corso.

Dun Guzepp was a dedicated and indefatigable priest, teacher and social [p.361] historian and Malta is all the poorer for his loss for we certainly do need more true gentlemen of his ilk in our island. The only really consoling thought is that he is in a far, far better world praying for us.

Dun Guzepp, rest in peace and pray for us.

JOSEPH F. GRIMA