Joe H. Satko (1924 - 2015)

Obituary
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  • "I only met my Uncle Joe once that I remember, but the..."
    - Vernon Johnson
  • "Love you Grandpa Joe, miss you until we meet again."
    - JoAnn Everson
  • "Thoughts and prayers to your family doing this time. May..."
    - Sandra Branton
  • "So sorry for your loss. Loved his smile. Thoughts and..."
    - anna marg rear
  • "my thoughts and prayers have been with you and your..."
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June 16, 1924- December 27, 2015
Longtime Juneau resident, Joe H. Satko, passed away peacefully in Anacortes, WA, where he had resided for the last five years. Born in Murfresboro, North Carolina to Paul and Mollie Satko, he was the third child of ten. Originally, he came to Juneau with his family aboard the "Ark of Juneau" during the depression in 1940. The family's odyssey began in Richmond, Virginia where his father decided the East coast was no place to be during this difficult time, and began constructing a vessel to take his family to Alaska where they could have opportunity and live off the land. They set off cross country pulling the welded frame of the boat designed by his father, covered in canvass to double as shelter for the family. Arriving in Tacoma, Joe was a critical part of the boat's final preparation as he drilled every rib by hand for the hull planking. Amid nationwide publicity, Seattle officials decided to intervene over concern for the vessel's seaworthiness. In the wee hours of the morning, the family quietly slipped away from the Coast Guard vessel assigned to watch them in Anacortes, making it to Canadian waters and out of Washington's jurisdiction. The family's long voyage finally ended when they arrived in Alaskan waters on Joe's 16th birthday, and then in Juneau on July 26, 1940. They applied for a homestead in the Eagle River area, built a cabin, and began clearing the land to grow vegetables, which they sold locally. Joe worked on the farm as well as at Juneau's plywood mill until the war, when he joined the army. He served as Crew Chief for B-24 and B-17 aircraft.

In 1945 Joe married Irene Hill, and for a time they settled in Richmond, Virginia, where their daughter Kathy, was born. They moved to the Spokane area, where Joe ran a body shop for a local Cadillac dealer, and then one in Ephrata, WA, where their son Herb was born. In the early 50's, Joe returned to Juneau to stay, first working for the General Motors dealer, then opening his own business on South Franklin Street, Joe's Body Shop, later renamed Capital City Auto. In business, Joe prided himself on his skill and integrity, and he had a strong work ethic. Joe spent the rest of his working life, and most of his retirement in Juneau until reluctantly moving to an Anacortes assisted living facility in 2011.

Throughout his time in Juneau he was an avid fisherman, frequenting places like the "Pass," Pt. Retreat, Barlow, or South Shelter aboard his increasingly larger boats, the Irene G's. He was always available to take out visiting family and friends for an unforgettable fishing experience. He was also an avid hunter, filling the freezer with venison, moose, and seafood. He helped build a cabin on Swan Island, which they later moved to Buck Island in Seymour Canal. He and his partners, Bud and Elmer Lindstrom, Larry Leaf, Jack Darnell, and Tony McCormick made many trips to the "cabin," which had electric lights, propane cooking, oil heat, and a big wood stove. Joe relished his time at the cabin and couldn't wait for the next trip. Over the years, he came home with his limit in deer nearly every year.

Joe was a devoted husband and family man. He cared for his wife, Irene for 22 years, after a series of strokes left her handicapped. He was very active in the lives of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren; always willing to be a part of, and help in their lives, while dispensing his unique brand of humor into the mix. He loved to fill his leisure time with family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Irene, his parents Mollie and Paul Satko, siblings Hazel, George, David, Grace, Billy, Esther, and Charlie. He is survived by his daughter Kathy, son Herb, siblings Betty and Northsea, numerous nieces and nephews and their families, grandchildren JoAnn, Heidi, Joseph, Nickie, Ricky, Todd, and Jodi, great grandchildren Wendy, Kate, Nikki, Lee, Alixandra, Brendan, and Riley.

A memorial service will be held 1:00 pm, January 23rd at Alaska Memorial Park, followed by a friends and family gathering at 2:00 pm in the Alaska Room at Juneau Int'l Airport. Free parking has been arranged in the airport parking lot. In addition, there will be a memorial mass on Wednesday, January 20th at the Cathedral in downtown Juneau at 12:10 pm.
Interment will be at Alaska Memorial Park.
Funeral Home
Alaskan Memorial Park and Mortuary
3839 Riverside Drive
Juneau, AK 99801
907-789-0611
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Published in The Juneau Empire from Jan. 17 to Feb. 16, 2016
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