Joe’s civic work included service as member of the Woodstock School Board, Councilman and later Mayor for the City of Woodstock, President of the Mental Health Center for McHenry County, and founder of the McHenry County Family Services Agency.
Joe served on the Board of the Mount Hope Methodist Church in Johnsburg and served as Chair of the Board of the First United Methodist Church of Woodstock.
Joe was a Delegate to the 1980 Republican National Convention.
Before his legal practice, Gitlin served in the United States Army from 1954 to 1956 as a Psychiatric Social Worker during the Korean War.
He also served as a group worker in a Chicago settlement house, Association House, and as a community worker for the Institute for Juvenile Research in Chicago, coordinating a study of juvenile gangs in Chicago’s near west side.