Oliver Dee Joseph, 82, of Fairview Heights, Ill., born Aug. 30, 1927 in Belleville, Ill., died Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009, at his residence.
Joseph's father, Oliver C. opened the family dealership on June 1, 1914. Oliver D. took over the business in 1958 - the day his son, Brad Joseph, was born. Another son, Oliver "Curt" Joseph, had served as general manager since the early 1980s until he succumbed to cancer at age 48 in 1998. Brad Joseph since then has been general manager of the dealership, which sells Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles. The business which for years sold Dodge from a storefront on West Main Street in downtown Belleville, expanded to include Chrysler and earlier this year, added Jeep. It also has the distinction of being the oldest Chrysler/Dodge dealership in the nation. Oliver D. was well known to people across the region for greeting customers at the door of the dealership, personally answering the phones and appearing on the dealer's television ads that also featured a talking moose. Three years ago, the dealership built and relocated its inventory and vintage 1927 Pullman railroad car to a new showroom and lot on Illinois 15 after 92 years in downtown Belleville. Oliver D. bought the rail car from the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1975. It was shipped to Belleville on the back of an Amtrak train and initially sat on the dealership used car lot along West A Street. Oliver D. was a member of S.I.R.B.A.C. (Southern Illinois Rail Buff and Cronies Club), 70 year member of the National Model Railroad Historic Association, National Wildlife Association, Sierra Club, National Parks & Conservation Association, Airflow Club of America, Classic Car Club of America and the National Automobile Dealers Association.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Oliver C. and Irma M., nee Seger, Joseph; first wife, Grace, nee Kaiser, Joseph; a son, Oliver Curt Joseph; two brothers, Warren and Elmo Joseph; and a sister, Norma Brown.
Surviving are his wife, Jean, nee Nebel, Joseph of Fairview Heights, Ill.; a son, Brad (Lynn, nee Mueller,) Joseph of O'Fallon, Ill.; daughter in law, Louise, nee Nemec, Joseph of O'Fallon, Ill.; five grandchildren, Whitney, Carolyn, Audrey, Oliver Curt and Michael Joseph; two brothers-in-law, Julius Brown of O'Fallon, Ill., and Herman Nebel of St. Louis, MO., sisters-in-law; Charlene Joseph of Belleville, Ill., Kitty Reis of Maryville, Tenn., Mimi Hunter of Glen Carbon, Ill., and Jo Ellen Vanatta of Lakewood, Wash.
Memorials may be made to the Memorial Hospital Foundation, Violence Prevention Center of Southwest Illinois, Juvenile Diabetes Association or the National Wildlife Federation. Condolences may be extended to the family at www.schildknechfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 28, 2009, at the Oliver C.. Joseph Dealership, 3795 W. State Rt. 15, Belleville, Ill.
Funeral: Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 8807 W. Main St., Belleville, Ill., 62223, with Father Clyde Grogan officiating. Burial will be at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Belleville, Ill.
SCHILDKNECHT FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATION SERVICES, O'Fallon, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat from Dec. 27 to Dec. 28, 2009