JOPLIN - Joseph “Joe” Wilmes, 95, of Joplin died Sunday, May 7, 2006, at the Liberty County Nursing Home of complications from pneumonia.
A graveside service with burial of ashes will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Joplin Cemetery. A memorial luncheon will follow at the Sweetgrass Lodge in Chester.
Joe was born Feb. 9, 1911, at Inverness to Domonick and Valentina (Jerzak) Wilmes. At the time of Joe's birth his mother and twin sister died from complications during the delivery.
Joe grew up in the Inverness community and received his education there. He graduated from Inverness High School in 1930. During his school years, he won several track ribbons and helped win the state track meet in 1928. He also played on the IHS basketball team.
Joe married Grace Marie Anderson in 1933. They began raising their family of three. Joe worked various jobs in the Hi-Line community until 1940, then bought a bar in Joplin. The bar was appropriately called Joe's Tavern. In 1942, the Wilmes' purchased the old Lear place, a small farm located near U.S. Highway 2 between Joplin and Chester. Joe sold the bar in 1945 and began farming on a full-time basis.
Joe and Marie had been married 40 years when she died in 1973. Joe met his second wife, Florence “Flo” Rediger, and they were married in 1977 at Las Vegas. During their life together, they wintered in Yuma, Ariz., and Pahrump, Nev. Joe continued to farm in north-central Montana until his retirement in 1998. In July of 2002, he and Flo moved to the Sweetgrass Lodge in Chester.
Joe was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith. He was a past board member of the Liberty County A.S.C.S. office and had served on the board of directors of the Joplin Farmer's Union Oil Company.
He enjoyed traveling and sightseeing, especially on their many trips to Arizona and Nevada. He liked to watch TV westerns and game shows, and was a fan of pro football and baseball. In his quiet time at home Joe enjoyed reading, mainly westerns by Louis Lamour. Probably his greatest love was farming. He drove tractors into his late 80s and was reluctant to retire at age 88.
Survivors include his wife of 29 years, Flo Wilmes, of Chester;
children, David Wilmes of Snohomish, Wash., and Rosalie Martinson of Helena; stepchildren, John Ritland of Haines City, Fla., Harry Kassmeier of Loma, Steven Kassmeier of Jacksonville, Fla., Lynnette Cook of Cheyenne, Wyo., Donna Arvidson of Helena, Loretta Dunnmeier of Hillsboro, Ore., and Deborah Kassmeier of Salem, Oregon; seven grandchildren; 12 stepgrandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; eight step-great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; first wife; son, Roger Wilmes, in 1955; brothers, Ben and David Wilmes; sister, Traisia Wilmes; and several infant siblings.
Memorials will be given to the Liberty County Hospital and Nursing Home in Chester or to the donor's choice.
Cremation and arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.