Joseph “Joe” Leander Stelken, 91, of Dubuque, passed away Monday, February 8, at Bethany Home. Friends may greet the family from 9 a.m. until the 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, February 13, at St. Anthony Catholic Church. The Mass will be livestreamed on the St. Anthony Catholic Church website: www.stanthony-dubuque.org. Rev. Steven Rosonke will officiate. Masks and social distancing are required at church. Interment will be at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by the Dubuque Marine Corps League. Arrangements are entrusted to Egelhof, Siegert & Casper Funeral Home and Crematory, 2659 JFK Rd., Dubuque. Condolences and memories may be shared at egelhofsiegertcasper.com. A public Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, July 24, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Eagle Point Park main pavilion.
Joe was born March 22, 1929, in Worthington, Iowa, the son of Bernard and Katherine Zita (Fruth) Stelken. He married Lois O’Hea on October 6, 1962, at St. Columbkille Catholic Church. She preceded him in death on January 30, 2003. Joe began his education in a one-room schoolhouse, and went on to be the first in his family to graduate from high school. He then graduated from Bayless Business College. Joe served his country with the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Hamilton Field in California from 1948 to 1952, and in Korea from 1951 to 1952, until his honorable discharge as a staff sergeant.
He was employed at the Dubuque Packing Company for many years. Joe was an avid bowler throughout his life, and bowled one of his best games at age 80. He was a long-suffering Cubs and Bears fan. Joe volunteered for Bingo at St. Anthony’s, and as a pallbearer for St. Vincent de Paul Society. He delivered Meals on Wheels for over 20 years.
Joe was honored to take one of the last Honor Flights out of Dubuque along with his brother-in-law, and escorted (not babysat!) by his son. Joe is survived by two children, Mark J. (Michelle) Stelken, of Dubuque, and Mary Beth (Roger) Scott, of Clive, Iowa; six grandchildren, Alex Stelken, of Louisville, Ken., Jonathon (fiancé Brooke) Stelken and Jacob Stelken, both of Dubuque, Trey Scott, of St. Louis, Mo., Leander Scott, of Dillon, Colo., and Turner Scott, of Kirksville, Mo.; his sister, Laura Mae “Toots” Carton, of Earlville, Iowa; his in-laws, Delores Stelken, of Manchester, Iowa, Vince Schrunk, of Dubuque, Lou Ann O’Hea and Mary McGrath, both of Dubuque, Donald (Colleen) O’Hea, of Rockford, and Ann and Mary O’Hea, both of Dubuque; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings, Aurelia (Gerald) Grawe, Bernard (Grace), Arthur, Elmer (Betty) and Jerome (Jane) Stelken, and Irene Schrunk; and his in-laws, Omer “Flea” Carton, and Delmer, Jeanette, and Gerald O’Hea.
Joe’s family would like to thank Hospice of Dubuque, especially Chris, Bethany Home Memory Care, and Dr. Chris Stille. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Dubuque.