In Memory of




Obituary for Joseph Michael Harenza

Joseph Michael Harenza

Joe Harenza of Reading passed away peacefully on September 29, 2021, at age 77. Joe is survived by his wife, Dana, and was fortunate to have had her love and companionship over the past 11 years. He also leaves behind his son, Jeffrey and daughter-in-law Melissa; daughter Beth and granddaughter Cora; stepson Raymond; his brothers, Jim (wife Jill), Chuck, John (wife Kate); and his nieces and nephews, Brian, Michael, David, Adrienne, Madeline, and Elizabeth. Joe was predeceased by his brother Denis.

Joe also leaves behind his Stevens & Lee/Griffin family. When Joe joined Stevens & Lee as an associate in 1971, the firm had less than 20 lawyers and a single location in Reading, PA. First as a practice group leader and then as the firm’s chief executive for over 20 years, he was instrumental in the remarkable growth of Stevens & Lee into a multidisciplinary platform, known as Stevens & Lee/Griffin, with over 300 employees, including 180 lawyers in 17 offices. Although Joe stepped down as the platform’s Chairman in 2020, he continued to work for Stevens & Lee/Griffin until his death, after having devoted 50 years of tireless service to the firm. Known for his tough-as-nails demeanor and boundless energy, Joe’s reputation was second-to-none in the field of innovative and complex corporate and financing transactions and extended well beyond Reading, PA. A charismatic leader, with a larger-than-life presence, Joe was a master motivator, and served as a tremendous mentor to partners and associates alike. Joe’s passing was described by many at Stevens & Lee as “the end of an era.” He touched many lives, cared for many, and inspired many.

Joe was born in Columbus, Ohio, and grew up in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Greenbrier Military School, he attended Western Michigan University, where he played football as quarterback. Before enrolling in law school, Joe played quarterback for several semiprofessional football teams, including the Harrisburg Capitols and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian football league. He received a Juris Doctor degree from Penn State Dickinson Law and an LLM in Tax from Temple University James E Beasley School of Law.

Joe was a former adjunct professor of Securities Regulation at Penn State Dickinson Law, a former trustee and board member of The Pennsylvania State University, and former member of the Board of Directors of the Berks County Community Foundation, Inc.

In addition to his work as an attorney and then as an investment banker, he was dedicated to helping his family, both his immediate family and his extended Stevens & Lee/Griffin family.

As much as the family would like to celebrate Joe’s life and honor him, funeral arrangements will be held privately due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please do not send flowers. In lieu of flowers, kindly share a favorite memory or condolence on the tribute page at, make a donation to the Reading Hospital Foundation, or just help another person in his honor. Any of these gestures would be greatly appreciated by his family and, more importantly, will make Joe smile.

The Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc., is honored to be entrusted with arrangements.