Joseph C. Dissette
Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Home - Midland
1200 W. Wheeler St
Midland, MI
Joseph C. Dissette, 91, of Midland, died late Tuesday, July 9, 2013, at his home. He was born July 7,1922, in Indianapolis, Ind., son of Joseph C. Dissette Sr. and Margaret (Perry) Dissette. He graduated from Evanston Township High School in Chicago, where he lettered in swimming. Joe attended Antioch College and the University of Michigan. He married Maxine Manigold in 1949; and after 27 years of marriage, they were divorced in 1977. Joe worked for Michigan Bell for 33 years, in marketing, working up to a management position handling the General Motors Account. In 1984, Joe met and married Ann (Shaw) Leeds of Midland.

Apart from special events and good times with their blended families, Joe's true passion was sailing. It began when his dad taught him to sail at age six. He got his first sailboat at age 12. Joe immediately got into racing and teaching, which lasted over 70 years. His devotion to the Lightning class began in 1946, with his first Lightning sailboat. Joe started fleets in Traverse City and Bay City Yacht Clubs. He served as Commodore, Vice Commodore, and Rear Commodore of the Bay City Yacht Club; and was on the board of directors for many years. It is difficult to imagine how many lives he touched through his sailing-students, fellow competitors, and those who crewed for him over the many years. As a natural outcome, Dissette Sail Yacht Sales was developed to provide new and used Lightning sailboats for expanding fleets. It was a labor of love that grew into a business.

Joe and Ann enjoyed many sailing adventures. High on their list were trips to the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, the North Channel, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, and San Francisco Bay. Joe was a wonderful man of strong faith and a member of Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, Ann, is his brother, Jim; his son, Joseph C. Dissette III (Ellen) of Tawas City; his daughter, Susan D. Volz (Wayne) of Sebewaing; grandchildren, Jenny Dissette, Matthew Dissette (Dawn), Jeffrey Tosch (Jaime), Bethany Tosch, Jeremy Volz and Bryan Volz; and two great-granddaughters, Sophie Dissette and Allison Tosch. Joe is also survived by Ann's children, Laurie Adamo (Tony) of Ft. Lee, N.J. and Tom Leeds (Pat) of Pewaukee, Wis. and grandchildren, Nicole, Michael, Courtney, and Justin. In addition to his parents, Joe was preceded in death by one sister and a stepdaughter.

Memorial services for Joe will take place at 11 a.m., Tuesday, July 16, 2013, from Memorial Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Wallace H. Mayton III will officiate. Joe's family will receive friends at the church on Tuesday from 10 a.m. until time of service. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Salvation Army or Memorial Presbyterian Church. Arrangements for Joe are entrusted to the care of the Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Directors, 1200 W. Wheeler St.

Published by Midland Daily News from Jul. 11 to Jul. 14, 2013.
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Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Home - Midland
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Dear Mr. Dissette's family, Joe sold me Lightning 9595 a few years back and I enjoyed dealing with him as much as I enjoyed purchasing the boat. He got a kick out of my recognizing the lines of the WWI minesweeper in the photo behind his desk and the fact that we both worked in the same industry. My thoughts are with the Dissette family and their friends.
Michael Seng
July 16, 2013
Joe picked me to train as crew when I was 16 years old, and I had the honor of being his crew with Jeff Worden for 5 years. He taught us the finer elements of sailing, to "move like cats", about prayer before the race, and how to live life for God with zeal. Joe left a mark on my life that I appreciate whenever I sail or remember him. I loved his smile and love for others. Just as he finished every sailing regatta, he finished the ultimate race--very well!
Scot Ioset
July 16, 2013
Joe was a huge influence on my father and almost every other Lightning sailor I know, including many generations! He was a wonderful man and will be missed greatly.
John Dent
July 16, 2013
Racing prams at the Bay City Yacht Club to Lightning's throughout Michigan you shared with me a love of racing sailboats I've never been able to shake. You'll be able to cover the fleet from where you are and send fair winds to those of us here on earth still looking for a lift on starboard tack heading to the windward mark with the fleet behind us.
Robert Camp
July 15, 2013

I'm sorry to hear about your dad. Know that he is sailing that great Lightning in the sky. Peace to you and Ellen.

Mark Edmonds
Lincoln, CA
July 14, 2013
You are in our thoughts and prayers. Joe impacted many of our lives in such great ways.
Matt Princing
July 11, 2013
So sorry to read today the news of Joe's passing. He and his family are a good part of my childhood memories. I know he will be dearly missed. Smooth sailing Joe.
Paul Hughes
July 11, 2013
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