Joseph A. "Okeechobee Joe" Staedelin II

OKEECHOBEE - Joseph "Okeechobee Joe" A. Staedelin II, a full time resident of Okeechobee since 1982, passed away on March 6, 2013 at 11:50 p.m. at Raulerson Hospital. Joseph was born Sept. 4, 1916, in Medford, Okla., to parents Joseph and Eunice Staedelin. He earned his degree at the University of Oklahoma and became a school teacher in Pas Christian, Miss.. He and Theda Mills were married on August 25, 1940, in Ill. During the Second World War, he served in the US Army. After the war, he then became a Civil Service instructor with the United States Air Force at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Ill. Living in Rantoul, Joseph and Theda had a daughter, Susan (Crozier) and a son, Joseph III. During his time, Joseph was an active Rotarian and a member of the Rantoul City School Board. Theda preceded Joseph in death in 1974. On August 31, 1975 Joseph married Louise Harris in Rantoul, Ill.. He retired from his Civil Service instructor position in 1976. During his retirement, he became a part time resident of Okeechobee, Fla. Louise preceded him in death in 1981. Joseph then married Evelyn Cady on September 4, 1982, in Okeechobee, Fla; she survives. Surviving children include daughter, Susan (Terry) Crozier of Carbon, Texas and son Joseph (Julia Ludwig) Staedelin III of Thomasboro, Ill.; step daughter Nancy (Dan) Truskowski of Grand Rapids, Mich.; five grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; seven step grandchildren and 14 step grandchildren. Joseph's love for music and performing were an ever present constant and source of enjoyment and opportunities throughout his long life. His specialty was playing the Saxophone and composing musical arrangements for big band music. He first performed in the University of Oklahoma's band. Then, in tor he summer of 1939, being a member of a dance band facilitated a tour of old Europe. Notably they toured Hitler's Germany during the height of that regime and before its beautiful old cities became ruins - totally destroyed by war. Returning back to the US only days before the outbreak of Europe's World War Two, the French cruise ship he and his band were on was under U-Boat threat and steamed under blackout conditions. During the 60s and 70s, when living in Rantoul, he played saxophone and wrote musical arrangements in and for many local bands including The Mellotones and Medicare 5, 8, and 9. Relocating to Okeechobee, Fla in 1983, he played in the Don West Band among many others. He also played with several big bands based in Sebring, Fla. such as The Highlandaires and the GI Joes. Known to some as "Okeechobee Joe", he always carried his horn when traveling and always welcomed opportunities to "jam" with fellow musicians. He played professionally until 2011. There will be no public services. All arrangements are entrusted to the loving care of the Buxton Funeral Home and Crematory, 400 N. Parrott Ave., Okeechobee, FL 34972. On-line condolences may be made at

Published in NewsZapFL on Mar. 9, 2013