Joseph “Joe” Leon Whitaker, of The Dalles, Ore., was welcomed home to heaven on November 18, 2015 at the age of 92, after an extended illness. With loved ones surrounding him and filled with the sadness of losing such an amazing man, there was great joy knowing he is now reunited with his eldest son, Joseph L. Whitaker, Jr. whom he lost August 29, 1967 in the Viet Nam war. Joe was also met by his parents, Al & Erma Whitaker, brother Frank and sisters Agnes, Betty and Mary.
Joe was born August 30, 1923 in Lake Oswego, Ore. Raised on a farm, hard work was nothing new to him. Later in his youth, his family purchased their own farm and they relocated to Hillsboro, Ore. In 1943, at the age of 19, Joe was called to service in the United States Army where he proudly served and trained as a medic during WWII. He served for 3 years, and was stationed in the Philippines, New Guinea, and finally Japan.
Upon returning home, Joe got married to his first wife, Bonnie, and they had two sons, Joe Jr. and James. In 1947, he was hired by Northwest Natural gas Co., transferred to The Dalles in 1959, he continued working until his retirement in 1985 after 39 years of employment. After a divorce from his first wife, Joe was left as a single father raising his son Jim. They were always together, hunting, fishing, camping, shooting black powder guns, riding motorcycles and anything else they could do together. Joe coached little league for many years and was always at any sporting event his son was involved with. Joe was a devoted father and great friend to his son.
In late summer of 1970 Joe met the love of his life: Lillian. Their courtship was fast and furious as he knew he had found his other half. They married on December 26, 1970. Blending their families together Joe now had another son and 3 daughters, life became very interesting to say the least. Joe was an amazing step-father, accepting each one of those children as his own and loving them unconditionally. Joe and Lillian spent their life making memories, camping, fishing, traveling, loving and laughing. Laughter always filled their home and life. Joe was very witty and never missed an opportunity to crack one of his goofy one liners. He and Lillian had a fairytale love and he was truly her “Prince Charming.”
Joe was a great husband, a great father and a great friend to many, but with that said when he became a grandfather he shined even brighter than ever. He was blessed with 10 grandchildren, 14 great- grandchildren and 2 great great-grandchildren. He was known to each one as “Papa Joe.”
Joe was a big part in each one of their lives, teaching them, playing with them, and always being a role model. He taught them all so much but more than anything, he taught them to love. He showed them how a man cherishes a woman, he showed them what commitment was and he taught them all about God’s love.
As we say goodbye to Joseph L. Whitaker and deal with our grief we know that even though he is in God’s arms, Joe will forever be in our hearts.
He is survived by his precious wife Lillian Whitaker of 45 years, children James and Mary Whitaker, Bend, Ore., Debra Cherbak & Steve Lampkin, Castle Rock, Wash., Patty Taylor, Palm Bay, Fla., Denise & Dennis Clinch, Castle Rock, Wash., and Richard Rasey, The Dalles OR.
Grandchildren: Angus Whitaker, Gayle Lynn Remington, Kristopher and Beth Taylor, Jacob and Ashley Taylor, Amanda Taylor, Chad Cherbak, DeAnna and Lou Bible, Samantha and Cameron Wilkinson, Aaron and April Doty and Ashley Rasey. Great-grandchildren, Cody, Nick, Willy, Korina, Abby, Josef, Booker, Taylor, Payton, Mattie, Cameron, Cooper, Kyle, Kayla, and great great-grandsons Joshua and Mayson.
Joe was a member of Calvary Baptist Church in The Dalles, he and Lillian taught Children’s Sunday School class for many years and Joe drove the Sunday School bus for several years also. Joe was a long time member of the Eagles Club.
Cremation was handled by Gardner Funeral Home in White Salmon, Wash.
A Celebration of Joe’s life will be held at a later date when all family can be present. An announcement of that date will be posted later.
Memories of Joe are being requested and may be posted to the website: www.gardnerfh.com, on Joseph L. Whitakers Obituary. Please Share your favorite memory of Joe and pictures for our memorial video and book that is being made.
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