Joe was born on September 26, 1935 and left us on August 30, 2012 at the age of 76. He died peacefully surrounded by his family at Lodi Memorial Hospital after a courageous five-year battle with colon cancer.
Joe was born in Passaic, New Jersey, but was soon transported to Santa Barbara, California, by his beach-loving mom and his East Coast dad. He had wonderful stories of life in Santa Barbara in the 50s: cruising State Street, football at Catholic High, college at Santa Barbara City College and his courtship of Ann Welch. They married and started a family of three boys.
Theirs was a life of camping trips and travel to Newport, Oregon, to build the perpetual fence around 40 acres of forest. Joe was very proud of supporting his family working for Sears for 37 years. He began in Santa Barbara and was transferred to Eureka, Stockton, Modesto and ended his career as store manager in Yuba City, California.
After his retirement, he moved his bride (as he called Ann during their 56 year marriage) back to Lodi to be closer to their sons and their families.
Joe had a wonderful sense of humor. He always had a huge smile on his face and a gleam in his eye when he saw you. Up to the day he passed away, he greeted everyone he saw with a smile.
He was genuinely happy to see every person that crossed his path. After a 10-minute conversation he would invite you to the "greatest little cabin on Mt. Shasta." He loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was a Cabela's shopaholic and had a personal relationship with the UPS man.
Joe was the consummate family man in a Leave-it-to-Beaver kind of way. He leaves behind his wife, Ann Donati whom he called Annie. He adored her. He also leaves behind his three sons: Joe (Starr), Jeff (Jerri) and John (Lisa). He loved his boys, and his pride was deep. His grandchildren, Todd, Chaz, Tracy, Casey, Joseph and Jordan were his ultimate accomplishments. His family also included several nephews, a niece and a half-dozen great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his sisters, Joanne Eby and Linda Lucas, and his brother Clinton (Allena.)
He is predeceased by his loving parents, Joseph Leonard Donati in 1954 and Grace Webster Donati in 2011.
He would never forgive us if we failed to mention his granddogs, Bella, Benelli and Ruby! He really loved the visits from "his" dogs!
Joe was a member of the Lodi Elks Club, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, NRA, and California Rifle and Pistol Association. We did mention that he liked to hunt.
We want to thank Karen and the staff from LMH Home Health for their support. We would also like to thank Dr. Dighe and his staff for their compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Services will be held at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Lodi, California on September 6, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. followed by a celebration of Joe's life. He will be laid to rest September 8, 2012 at the Calvary Cemetery in Santa Barbara, California at 12:00 p.m. Family and friends are invited to attend.
JOB WELL DONE!
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from September 5 to September 12, 2012