SgtMaj Joseph W. Mueller, USMC (RET)
Almighty God issued one last set of orders to Joe on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, sending him to guard Heavens' shores after a life well-lived here on earth. Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on March 21, 1934 to John and Doris Mueller, he was just 1-1/2 years old when his mother died giving birth to his beloved sister Mary. His dad had problems juggling three young children while working at Bethlehem Steel, so the baby girl and her two brothers went to live with grandparents in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania where Joe grew up. He went to St. Andrews Catholic Elementary School and then to West Catholic School for Boys. After one year at Villanova University, he enlisted in his beloved United States Marine Corps
in 1952. Although the Korean War
was still waging, he would only say he was a "Korean Era Veteran" because he was never sent into combat at that time. After a military school in Illinois, he was quartered at Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia with orders for Headquarters Marine Corps and it was there that he met Helen Mitten, a Woman Marine from Maryland. Sergeant Mueller and Sergeant Mitten ("Toots") were married on New Year's Eve, 1955, in her hometown, Westminster, with Joe insisting he only married for the tax deduction at the year's end! Joe was lovingly taken into her large Irish-Catholic "Mitten" clan as if he was always a Mitten. Helen started a new career as mom and they ultimately were blessed with a daughter and two sons while on duty with USMC Reserves in Altoona, Pennsylvania, another son and daughter while stationed at Marine Barracks, USNS, Annapolis, Maryland, and one more daughter born at Camp Lejeune hospital while stationed nearby at New River Air Station. Among his close friends in North Carolina was then-Staff Sergeant "Freddie" Douglass from Massachusetts, who later died in the horrific bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon. The next set of orders had "Vietnam" on them and he then spent a tour at DaNang that included the dark days of the Tet Offensive in 1968. On returning stateside, he went to Marine Air Detachment at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, then overseas to Okinawa, Japan returning for yet another tour in Jacksonville as the detachment's First Sergeant. From Jacksonville he had "Interstate 10" orders to Marine Corps Reserve Center (tanks on Roberts Avenue), Tallahassee as First Sergeant promoting to Sergeant Major before going overseas for one more tour in Okinawa, and then for a final tour in USN Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia, where he retired from the Corps in 1978. So, after years of no "hometown", where to settle down for the rest of their lives faced Helen and Joe. "Why not Tallahassee?" a great town with great people and colleges and jobs, and where the children had already gone to school and made friends. Switching gears seamlessly, he went from his beloved Corps and fellow Marines to the Department of Education's Knott Data Center computer operations, making numerous friends and retiring as the Computer Operations Manager in 1996, after 17 years of service. Joe was an active member of St. Louis Catholic Church. He belonged to the VFW
, the American Legion, Marine Corps League, Knights of Columbus, Loyal Escorts of the Green Garter, and was an honorary member of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
Joe loved his family and they loved him. He loved Helen, his "Toots". If he couldn't see her, he was asking where she was. It was rare to see one without the other. Joe was larger than life. He never met a stranger. He had a terrific, dry sense of humor that would keep you on your toes. He had an uncanny gift of making you feel his love with his smile and the twinkle in his eye without ever saying a word.
He leaves behind to wipe their tears his beloved wife, Helen, his sons Claude "Boots" (Joanna), William "Bill" (Paula) and Joseph, Jr. "Joe" (Brenda) and daughters Doris Mueller (Tom Kwader), Mary Nicholson (Lee) and Kathleen "Kathy". Grandchildren in the order God sent them to him were Anita Mueller, Leland Vickery (Melissa), Michael Mueller, Kelly Vickery, Katie Mueller and Billy Mueller. He also was blessed with his adored great-grandchildren William Vickery, Kaleigh Vickery, Luann Mueller, Judson Barrett Vickery and Jaiden Vickery, to whom he was either "Poppa" or "Pappy", and who high-fived them with much love. He also leaves behind his loving sister Mary Manns and brother John Mueller and the entire Mitten clan.
Many thanks to the doctors, nurses and support staff of Southern Medical Group, TMH, the TMH Cancer Center and Big Bend Hospice, who were there for him with smiles and medical skills throughout the years when the Sergeant Major fought his toughest battle trying to defeat many medical issues, and finally, lung cancer. It is a testament to his love of life and his family that he fought so courageously.
A Rosary will be said at 6:00 PM Friday, October 11, 2013 at Abbey Funeral Home, with visitation to follow until 8:30 PM. The Funeral Mass is 10:00 AM Saturday October 12, 2013 at St. Louis Catholic Church, with interment following at Tallahassee Memory Gardens.
Memorial donations may be sent to St. Louis Catholic Church, 4151 Miraflores Lane, Tallahassee, Florida 32303 or to Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL 32308-5428 (www.bigbendhospice.org
). Thanks also for spiritual guidance from Father Kevin Johnson and Father Craig Smith, Mrs. Mary Johnson and Mrs. Carolyn Girouard. We love and miss you Schmoe. Semper Fi!
The online guestbook is at www.abbeyfh.com