Joseph "Joe" Grube died peacefully of natural causes on March 27, 2013, in Corvallis, Ore. He was 94.
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Joe was born Aug. 19, 1918, in Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, Pa., to Raymond W. and Geraldine K. Baumgartner Grube.
When Joe was 3, his father moved the family to Oregon. Joe was raised in several small logging towns in the southern Willamette Valley - Cottage Grove, Veneta and Pengra. He graduated as valedictorian of the 1935 high school class at Lowell.
He attended Linfield College in McMinnville, graduating with the Class of 1942. Immediately after Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, and "got his wings" at Luke Field, Ariz., (42-I).
He flew P-39s, then transferred to double-engine planes, flying the A-26 and B-26. Much of his service was spent as an flight instructor. When asked if he really did fly his Army Air Corps plane under the Golden Gate Bridge, he always changed the subject.
At Linfield he met Jean Etta Burt; she asked him to escort her as a member of the Linfield May Day Festival Court, in part because he had a car. Thereafter they began dating and were married on Nov. 28, 1942, at Everett, Wash., while he was stationed at Payne Field.
In 1957, he took a job with the CAA (now FAA) in Lake Minchumina, a remote weather station. The next year he became an air traffic controller, and worked at Ladd Field and Eielson Air Force Base and at Fort Wainwright.
He advanced to become the chief of the FAA tower operations at Fairbanks International Airport. In Fairbanks, he also was a trustee of the First Presbyterian Church. He retired in 1979, and he and Jean moved to Corvallis, Ore.
Joe loved baseball and he played at Linfield and semi-professionally in the summers in the late 1930s. Two of his favorite memories were batting against the famous Satchel Paige in Eugene, and in 2010, as one of the oldest living Linfield varsity baseball players, throwing out the first pitch at a Wildcats/Bearcats game in McMinnville.
For several years, Joe was editor of the Oregon State Horseshoe newsletter, "The Ringer." Joe cheated at cards and always smiled when he was caught.
After 68 years of marriage, Jean passed away in 2010. Joe lived his last years at Stoneybrook Assisted Living where he was known as the "true gentlemen's gentleman," always whistling a happy tune and sharing jokes and stories with others. Two words best describe Joe: loyal and humble.
Three days before he died, he laughingly dreamed aloud that he was sharing his lunch with Jean, making sure she would eat.
He is survived by his sons, Gareth (Barbara), David (Lynn), Michael (Melanie); daughter, Kathleen "Susie"; brother, Jim, of Grants Pass; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Contributions in his memory can be given to The Arbor Day Foundation.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Apr. 3, 2013