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August 11, 1946 ~ October 10, 2023 (age 77) 77 Years Old
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Joe was born at home in Pan Bottom, a holler in West Virginia, to John Henry and Ira Mae Hooker Addair. You won’t find Pan Bottom, or the town on his birth certificate, Grapevine, on any map today. He passed away at Southern Coos Hospital in Bandon, Oregon. In the intervening 77 years, he visited almost all 50 states and several other countries, including tours in Vietnam, while remaining intensely proud of his West Virginia heritage.
As a boy, Joe walked to school with his two brothers and four sisters. It was, of course, heavily wooded and uphill both ways through the mud and snow. He graduated Class of ’63 from Iaeger High School, McDowell County, WV. After working one day in a local coal mine, he hung up his hard hat and enlisted, following his two older brothers into the Air Force. During that time, he earned an Associate Degree in Aircraft Maintenance Technology from the Community College of the Air Force as well as his A&P (Airframe and Propulsion) License. Joe retired at Mather AFB, CA, after 23 years, having achieved the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. He worked at the Sacramento Airport before being hired by Boeing in 1988 as Lead Mechanic for a VIP configured T-43 (737) at Ramstein Air Base, West Germany. Not-so-coincidentally, his future wife, Gail, a MSgt in the Air Force, was serving a tour at Ramstein. They married in 1990 and he rotated with her to her next assignment at Arnold AFB in Tennessee. With no T-43’s around, he turned his life-long interest in automotive repair to working on all types of autos and large trucks at a local shop, adding an ASE license to his resume. Eventually, Joe hired on at Arnold, working for a civilian contractor in the test cells. But Bandon beckoned; in 2001 he and Gail, two dogs and four cats, relocated for the last time. He worked at the old Sheep Ranch golf course at The Dunes for ten years, but devoted the majority of his time to the local VFW, Post 3440. Joe served as Quartermaster from 2003 until his heart attack in 2020. He was recognized for his volunteerism in August 2019 by the city of Bandon and by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Even as his health declined, Joe volunteered time in support of veterans and the community.
If you need a poster-boy for “He never met a stranger”, Joe’s your guy. His ease with people, his sense of humor, and his generosity of self, endeared him to people everywhere. A man of honor and integrity, Joe lived a life of service; to his country, fellow veterans, the VFW, and by volunteering in some way in every community in which he lived. He was loved by many, and will be greatly missed by all those he leaves behind.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 PM at the VFW Hall in Bandon on Sunday, November 5, 2023. Bring your favorite Joe story. Memorial donations in his name may be made to VFW Post 3440, 55352 Bates Road, Bandon, OR 97411.