Joe Junior Kiess, 90, of Lake Gage, Angola, passed away on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital. He was born August 26, 1931, in Edon, Ohio to Ira Joseph and Sevilla Dorothy (Rockey) Kiess growing up on the farm in Edon, Ohio. At age 17, he had his best friend learned to fly, using a 20-acre field for landing. He attended Florence-Edon High School and played on their winning baseball team. After high school, Joe worked at International Harvester for one year as a truck parts expediter. In 1951, he joined the Army to serve his country. He was hoping to fly airplanes, but instead was sent to Fort Leonard Wood, MO in Basic Engineering Training specializing in demolition. At the end of basic training, Joe was one of two men selected for a highly top secret assignment. He observed the 1st hydrogen bomb test on Eni We Tok Island. He went on to organize the Army Reserves in Napoleon, Ohio for 10 years. His rank at discharge was Master Sergeant.
Joe attended Tri-State University, with financial assistance from the G.I. Bill, studying business and accounting. His first job was assistant manager at Capital Finance in Napoleon, Ohio. He then became office manager of 7-UP Bottling Company in Napoleon. Joe came to Orland, Indiana in Steuben County where he opened a branch of the First National Bank of Fremont. He worked there as bank manager for 23 years. He eventually resigned this position and signed on to Quality Converters in Elkhart for 2 years.
Joe met his loving wife Elba, in 1975. They were married on September 4, 1976. He left his job at Quality Converters to join her in business at Lake Gage Canvas Shop, primarily making canvas boat covers for area marinas and private individuals. They worked long hours together side by side. Joe and Elba were able to spend summers at Lake Gage and winters in Estero, Florida. One of Joe’s favorite activities in Florida was singing with the barbershop group Naples Neapolitan Barbershop Chorus. Joe described singing barbershop as fun, yet hard work! They wore snazzy outfits, black tuxedos, white shirts, green cummerbunds and green ties. Their stage presence was quite memorable.
Joe was involved in several organizations throughout his life. He was a lifetime member of the Masons, which he joined in 1956 while living in Napoleon. He also belonged to the Shriners International from 1983 to present-specifically they aircraft division called the Flying Shriners. Joe was a member of the American legion Post #423 in Orland, serving as commander from 1983-1984.
One of Joe’s hobbies was collecting clocks. He loved Clocks! He enjoyed surrounding himself with clocks, and even built a grandfather clock himself. He and Elba once took a trip to Germany where they visited Triberg in the Black Forest, famous for their hand-carved cuckoo clocks. It was a trip they both cherished. Throughout his life Joe was an active church member, beginning at Edon United Methodist Church in Ohio. His home church since 1978 has been Nevada Mills United Methodist Church.
Joe enjoyed retirement life at Lake Gage, especially spending time with his beloved wife Elba, and their longtime poodle, Charlie.
Joe is survived by wife, Elba R. Kiess; son, Jeffrey (Janet) Kiess of Florida; grandson, Dylan (Alexandria) Kiess; nephews, Dave (Cher) Baughman and Larry (Carol) Buck.
Funeral Service is 2 p.m., Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at H.E. Johnson & Son Funeral Home, 108 S. West St., Angola, with calling starting from 11 a.m. till service time. He will be laid to rest at Green Lawn Cemetery in Orland.
In lieu of flowers memorials are to Edon United Methodist Church, Nevada Mills United Methodist Church, Orland Volunteer Fire Dept. or Joyce Public Library of Orland.
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