ARLINGTON, TX—Joseph “Joe” DePalma, Sr., founder and chairman of DePalma Hotels & Resorts, passed away on August 15 in Lakewood, CO.
After serving his country with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, DePalma began his career in the hotel industry in 1966 in Windsor, CT. He moved up the ranks and, in 1975, Americana Hotels transferred him to Dallas to lead its hotel expansion efforts. He married his wife, Tyra, and settled there. DePalma joined Pratt Hotel Corporation in 1981 where he served as the SVP of operations, overseeing the acquisition and development of multi-unit portfolios.
In 1983, at a time when third-party hotel management was in its infancy, DePalma believed in four key principals: success through knowledge; success through service; success through communication; and success through ethics. DePalma founded DePalma Hotels & Resorts based on these pillars and served as the founder and chairman.
Over the last 33 years, DePalma Hotels & Resorts has operated more than 200 hotels and resorts since its inception with an average portfolio size of more than 2,500 keys. His philosophy of balancing the needs of the guest, associate, management company and owner has proven to be extremely successful over the past three decades, according to the company. DePalma has been widely quoted on hotel issues in a variety of journals and was recognized for his support in hospitality education by the Educational Foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. In his spare time, DePalma coached football and baseball.
In 2015, the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, which DePalma served as past president, awarded him with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts and achievements in the hospitality industry. DePalma dedicated his life to his Christian faith, family, career and coaching, according to his family.
“We have lost not only a great father, husband, boss and friend; the hospitality industry has lost a pioneer, educator and visionary,” said Brian DePalma, president & CEO of DePalma Hotels & Resorts.
DePalma is survived by his wife of 41 years, Tyra; his children: Lori Müggler and husband Andreas; David Overbey; Joseph DePalma, Jr., and wife, Ginger; Nicholas DePalma and wife, Kris; Brian DePalma and wife, Angela; and Chris DePalma and wife, Brandilyn; 10 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren; and a brother, Nicholas DePalma and wife, BJ.
The funeral was held at Gateway Church in Grand Prairie, TX, on August 22; a celebration of his life was held following the service, concluding with the internment at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.