Joseph Anthony Gissy, 84, of Starke and Dunnellon, Fla., passed away late in the evening of Monday, March 25, 2013. He died somewhat peacefully from a heart attack while in the care of Seven Rivers Hospital, Crystal River, where he was being treated for pneumonia and an earlier mild heart attack.
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Joe was born Sept. 28, 1928, in Lewis County, W.Va., ("West by God Virginia" as he would say). He was the youngest of five children, born from the union of Jacob Lawrence Gissy and Genevieve Droppleman Gissy, both life-long residents of that part of West Virginia.
Joe graduated from St. Patrick's High School in Weston, W.Va., in 1946 and entered the U.S. Marine Corps shortly thereafter. After his military service, he received a degree in Forestry from the University of West Virginia in Morgantown in 1954. In 1951 he married Mary Catherine Kreyenbuhl, whom he met at a square dance three years earlier. They had their first daughter, Karen, while still working on his degree. His first job as a forester brought him to White Springs, Fla., where Michael was born. He then transferred to Waycross, Ga., where Jimmy, Cindy and Denise were born. Joe and Mary then moved their family to Starke in 1960 where he worked for Container Corporation of America for the rest of his career. Timmy and Donald were both born in Starke.
Joe retired in 1986 and spent his remaining years actively involved in community service. He worked for a time at the Telegraph and was a very active member of St. Edward's Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion Post 56, the Bradford County Food Pantry and many other civic organizations and causes. Joe and Mary were instrumental in bringing the singer/songwriter/performer James Rogers to Starke for a benefit concert, which has since become an annual fundraising event for the Food Pantry for the last 25 years.
Even though they still have their house and many friends in Starke, in 2008 Joe and Mary moved to Dunnellon, to be closer to their children. They continued to be very active citizens with St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and other organizations in Dunnellon.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Catherine (Kreyenbuhl) Gissy; and all of their seven children, daughter, Karen Johnson (Jodie) Gainesville; son, Michael (Sonja Biggs) Orlando; son, Jimmy (Brenda) Orlando; daughter, Cindy Merrilees (Jay) Fleming Island; daughter, Denise Cahoon (Lonnie) Orlando; son, Timmy (Kay) Orlando; and son, Donald (Susan) Crystal River. The seven children are all married and raising his 17 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A viewing was Sunday evening, March 31, at Roberts Funeral Home, 19939 East Pennsylvania Ave., Dunnellon. A funeral Mass was 11 a.m. Monday, April 1, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 7525 S. U.S. Hwy. 41, Dunnellon.
Online expressions of sympathy can be made to robertsofdunnellon.com.
Published in Riverland News on Apr. 4, 2013