Stuart — Joseph Henry Deermer, 95, of Stuart, died Saturday, March 7, 2020 at West Holt Memorial Hospital in Atkinson.

Visitation was held Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at Seger Funeral Home in Stuart with a rosary.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 12, 2020 at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Stuart. Frs. James Weeder and Luke Steffes will officiate. Music will be provided by organist Deb Kaup and soloist John Madsen.

Pallbearers will be Jim Vrooman, Larry Butler, Jerry Myers, Ivan Campbell, Jeff Wallinger and Bob Malone.

Honorary pallbearers will be the Military Honor Guard of the Stuart American Legion

Burial will be in the St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery in Stuart with military rites by the Stuart American Legion Post 115.

Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.

Joseph was born Sept. 21,1924, to Alois and Theresa (Schmaderer) Deermer five miles north of Stuart. He was the seventh of nine children. His father died when he was six years old leaving his 35 year old mother with eight children to raise along with working the farm during the Dust Bowl and Depression of the 30s. Joe attended school in Stuart through the eighth grade. 

At that time, he then began to work on various farms in the area to earn money for the family as well as working on their own farm. When he turned 18, he was drafted into the U.S. Army Infantry reporting to Fort Leavenworth and sent to Ft. Roberts for basic infantry training for World War 2. Upon graduation, he was shipped to New Guinea as part of a convoy headed to the Philippines. 

In recognition of Joe's leadership skills and superior work ethic, the Army promoted him from the initial rank of Private to Sergeant Squad Leader within 20 months. He served in the Philippines, Korea and Japan. He survived malaria, active combat and imprisonment and was honorably discharged April 11, l946, with the rank of Sergeant and had earned several medals for his accomplishments.

After the war, he traveled with George seeking employment in Wyoming on ranches, in the sugar beet factory, installing city water lines and in the lumber industry in Oregon. They joined Ben in Sioux City, Iowa to work in the hog packing plants and picked corn in Nebraska during harvest.

Joe attended trade school in Milford for two years specializing in diesel mechanics. After graduating, he moved to Omaha and worked 30 years with various trucking companies. 

He lived with Ed until Ben had a stroke, and he returned home to Stuart to care for him and spend the rest of his life.

Joe enjoyed fishing with his uncle Joe Schmaderer, who taught him a lot about fishing in the lakes and ponds around Stuart. When George moved to Stuart, the two of them spent many a day fishing together and donating their catch to the KC fish fries. 

He worked alongside George at the KC pancake breakfasts and was active in the KC fund raising projects. You would see him at the July 4th Duck Races and at auctions. He was particularly proud of the new elevator and entrance that was built at the church. 

In addition to fishing and their dedication to the church and the Knights, Joe and George would travel to visit their sisters in Wisconsin and sister and her family on the ranch in Wyoming. They also traveled to major auto auction centers in the Midwest and to Denver to transport cars to Stuart for local dealers. And, of course, Joe loved traveling to the casino to try his “luck” and if he did not win, to vow he would not be back!

Above all, he was a man who cherished great love of the Lord,  faith and prayer which had been instilled in the family by his mother through all the trials, struggles and sorrows she and her family had overcome over the years. Even in his last days, you would see him with his mother’s black prayer book and a rosary at his side. His faith and prayer were the pillars of strength that helped him to survive all the adversities of his life.

Joe was an active member of St. Boniface Church and the KC’s, Stuart American Legion and International Association of Mechanics. Joe will be remembered in the community for his friendly,  infectious grin, teasing  and sense of humor. He also definitely had his own opinion and would tell you about it. 

However patience was not one of Joe's virtues and the supreme test of patience was in waiting for the Lord to take him home on March 7. On that day he was reunited with his parents, five brothers and three sisters. 

He leaves behind a nephew and two nieces in Wyoming, cousins and the numerous friends of 95 years.  

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