Joe was a Geordie - born in 1932 in Newcastle-Upon Tyne, a ship-building port on the east coast of England. He had a younger brother Bill, and sister Liz. As a seven-year-old, in 1939, he was evacuated for safety with many other children to the Lake District on the other side of England for the duration of the war. This gave Joe a lasting fascination with anything to do with World War II. At the end of the war, he went to boarding school in Dumfries, Scotland, where he played rugby and soccer, and excelled in cricket. These years resulted in a lifelong love of sports, and an accent which everyone had trouble identifying. Joe had a phenomenal memory. He could recall the details and stars of all the old movies because his mother dragged him along to see them when his father didn’t want to go. His facility for recall extended to sports, geography, trivia, peoples’ names, and more. At age 18 he began his 3-year national service, and he was stationed with the British post-war peacekeeping force in Egypt. During that time, his family emigrated to Canada, and at the end of his service, he “sailed away to the colonies” to join them. En route to Calgary, he saw his first Canadian football game in Toronto. It was not to be his last! Joe met Sue at St. Gerard’s Church, when he complimented her after Mass one Sunday on her playing of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring - a hymn he recalled from childhood. That piece became a part of their history and the initials of the hymn title were engraved inside her wedding band. It was played at their wedding at St. Gerard’s in August 1971 and shall be played again today. Joe spent 27 years in the accounting department at Gulf Oil. After his early retirement, he worked in security at Bankers’ Hall, where he made many friends. He was a people person. In later years at the gym, when he could no longer walk around the track, he was the “greeter” at the door, where he knew everyone by name. He had a wonderful sense of humour - gave everyone a “run for their money,” and loved to exchange jokes. Joe had two sons, John born in 1972 and Rob in 1975. His life revolved around his family and his church where he sang in the choir for 45 years. Joe and John shared a love of soccer, and he coached John’s team for several years. Being a singer himself, Joe enjoyed hearing Rob sing, whether in a choir at school, or with his quartet. Joe was a gentle man, not given to argument or complaint. Strong in his faith, he was always positive and supportive. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Gerard’s Catholic Church (8944 Elbow Drive SW) on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 10:00am. Reception to follow in the Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, if friends so desire, donations may be made in Joe's name to the charity of your choice.