Joseph Karl Fries
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age 65, of Jackson Township, met his Heavenly Father on Friday, April 25 at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio after his courageous battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome. He received a bone marrow transplant on May 4, 2013. Joe was born on Feb. 26, 1949 to the late Clifford and Helen Fries. He attended St. Mary's grade school and graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1968. He then joined the United States Army serving in Germany. Joe graduated from Walsh University with degrees in theology and philosophy. He retired from Fleming Company after 30 years and worked at St. Mary's parish office for the last ten years. He was ordained a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church on August 18, 1984 faithfully serving the parishioners of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Massillon, Ohio. Deacon Joe touched the hearts of young and old alike, from baptisms, novenas, weddings, funerals, and preaching from the pulpit. He communicated faithfully with his St Mary's family and wrapped his wisdom around stories to remember. He often personalized his sermons to include his family he was so proud of.
Joe married his high school sweetheart, Kathy Sheppler on Sept. 1, 1973. He is survived by his wife, Kathy; two daughters, Jenelle Messmer (Christopher), Kristin Fries, both of Bexley, Ohio, her boyfriend, Christopher Ludgis; and three grandchildren, Robby, Evie, and Xavier Messmer. He is also survived by his brother, Richard Fries (Karen) of Jackson Township. Also surviving are his sister-in-law, Patricia LeBeau; and his brothers-in-law, Robert Sheppler (Sheila) and Michael Sheppler (Linda). He was preceded in death by his two sisters, Theresa Albaugh and Margaret Hicks.
Joe's family would like to thank Dr. Ronald Sobecks, Dr. Ramon Tiu, Dr. Jaroslaw Maciejewski, and Elaina Corbett, BMT Nurse Coordinator of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the Wexner Heritage Village rehab staff and the staff of 7 East James, of the Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital for their compassion and care. A Special thank you to Joe's bone marrow transplant donor. Because of the donation, we had another year with him. We will be forever thankful.
In lieu of Flowers, donations can be made to Hope Lodge, 14312 Mayfield Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, or St. Mary's Catholic Church, of Massillon, Ohio. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the Paquelet Funeral Home in Massillon on Tuesday from 2-8 p.m. To post a condolence or leave a fond memory, visit
Paquelet Funeral Homes
1100 Wales Rd Ne Massillon, OH 44646
Published in The Repository on Apr. 28, 2014