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Joseph's Story

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Joseph "Joe" Frank Wallschlaeger died on December 22, 2017 at Oaklawn Care Center in Mankato, where he had resided since November.
Joe was born to Joseph and Myrtle (Abernathy) Wallschlaeger on February 15th, 1929 and raised in Waseca, Minnesota. Living near Clear Lake, his parents opened the Pheasant Club during his youth out of their home. They eventually moved their restaurant to downtown Waseca where it became the Pheasant Café that still operates today. After graduating from Waseca High School in 1948, he attended the University of Minnesota. His academic career went on hiatus in 1951, when he was drafted into the United States Army, and served with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Joe served in Korea during the Korean War from 1952-1955. After an honorable discharge, Joe returned to the U. of M. and graduated in 1956 with a degree in Economics.
After graduation, Joe took a job with A. C. Neilsen Marketing Research in Chicago for one year, then decided to return to Minnesota. He took a position with International Harvester Company, traveling throughout Minnesota until his retirement in 1985.
Joe married Josephine (Jodie) Nerison in Montevideo, MN in 1967. Joe and Jodie's relationship was forged in their similar experiences going off to war. Joe, having an understanding after serving in Korea, wrote several letters to Jodie while she served as a nurse during the Vietnam War. That understanding of the lives of veterans became a shared theme in their life together.
Joe and Jodie's son, Joe Jr., was born in Montevideo. The family moved to Mankato, MN in 1971 while Jodie was pregnant with their second child, Melanie.
During retirement, he enjoyed driving the Blue Earth County Veterans Van to the Minneapolis V.A. Hospital, sharing stories with the veterans. Joe was a history buff and voraciously kept up with current affairs through print and television media. Joe also loved to travel, having seen many parts of Europe and North America with Jodie over the years. One place they traveled often was Glacier National Park, where Joe had worked during two summers while in college as a Red Bus Jammer (driver). Joe and Jodie returned to Glacier in 2010 for the 100th anniversary of the park and the Red Bus Jammer reunion. In July 2017, Joe and Jodie did one last drive through Glacier as Joe gave Jodie a narrated trip.
While Joe often preferred to be observant, he had a way of filling the room with his signature laughter and sense of humor, especially with his kids and grandkids.
Joe was a member of several organizations, including being a lifetime member of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Korean War Veterans. He was also a longtime member of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Mankato. Joe is survived by his wife, Jodie; Joe Jr. of Mankato; Melanie (Joe Smith) of Lakewood, WA; three grandchildren, Zachary, Kendall, and Ashling. There will not be a funeral held at this time, though the family will gather at a later date for a graveside service at Fort Snelling. The family is grateful for the care from Oaklawn Care Center staff and residents, Mayo Hospice Care; and Prairie River Home Care. Memorials may be directed to Christ the King Lutheran Church, or toward the donor's choice.
Published on December 26, 2017
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