Francis Ervin Joseph, 79, of Cairo, passed away unexpectedly at his home on the farm on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. He was born on October 3, 1942 to the late Ervin and Theresia (nee Helldoerfer) Joseph in Lebanon, IL. He married the love of his life, Joan Marie Roth, on November 26, 1964, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter Catholic Church in Belleville, IL. Family, farming and being a good steward of the earth were everything to him.
He started in a one room schoolhouse in Lebanon-Richwood School and graduated from Cathedral High School in Belleville. He wanted to fly with the Air Force but because of bad sight, he joined the Air Force Reserves, where he served as a firefighter at Scott Air Force Base in Mascoutah, IL. He was also a tractor mechanic at Pier’s Machine Shop in Lebanon and operated a bulldozer for Gene Meininger’s excavating business.
When his dad retired from the small 70-acre family farm in Lebanon, Francis took it over while also working the night shift at Granite City Steel Mill for 10 years. He loved a hard day’s work but on Saturday nights he could be found with his cousins at the local clubs, dancing the night away. One of his favorite memories was seeing Ike and Tina Turner perform at the Benld Coliseum.
When his children were very young, he became the caretaker of Horner Park and St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery, both down the road from the farm. Wanting to start farming fulltime, he made the hard decision to move the family to Cairo, MO in January 1977. The Missouri Roth cousins were more than welcoming to the family. Besides diversified crops, he and the family raised mainly cattle and hogs with some chickens, ducks, rabbits and turkeys “for something different”. Early mornings and afternoons were devoted to being a St. Pius X School bus driver for many years and he enjoyed entertaining the kids with his famous animal noises. He also served on the Randolph County 4-H Board and was Treasurer of the Randolph County Pork Producers. He was an avid hunter and fisherman when he was younger. While Multiple Sclerosis slowed his body down later in life, it didn’t slow his mind at all. He liked to “direct” the farming, acted as the family weatherman and stayed up to date on world events. He enjoyed watching NASCAR and the Dallas Cowboys.
Preceding him in death are his sister, Rita Miller; “out-laws”, Henry and Josephine (nee Toenjes) Roth and Sarah Krukowski Roth; brothers-in-law, Stanley, John, James and Terry Roth, and Michael Hasenstab.
His surviving family includes his wife, Joan of Cairo; 7 children, Tony (Giovanna) Joseph of Macon, Julie (David) Lyons of Atlanta, GA, Bill Joseph of Cairo, Tim (Stacey) Joseph of Freeport, IL, Chris Joseph of Cairo, Carrie (Jason) Scales of Cleveland, OH and Emily (Jason) Alexander of Madison. He has 20 beautiful grandchildren whom he loved visiting with: Kathleen (Shawn) Watson, Stephanie, Matthew and Abbey Joseph, Bony Joseph; Adele and Andrew Lyons; Kyle (Lauren Kelly) Joseph, Shelby (Kaleb) Borghardt; Jake, Owen and Marley Joseph; Martina, Loretta, Henry and George Joseph; Morgan, Claire and Madison Scales and Emma Alexander. He has 2 great granddaughters that he was THRILLED to welcome this year: Freya Watson and Jaclyn Joseph.
Also surviving are his sister, Elizabeth (Michael) Del Monico of Colorado Springs, CO; brothers-in-law, Bill (Bev) Miller of Penrose, CO, Richard Roth of Tubac, AZ and Dennis (Eileen) Roth of St. Louis; sisters-in-law, Cheryl Hasenstab of St. Louis, Marsha Roth of Belleville and Diana Roth of Grand Rapids, MI; numerous dear cousins, nieces, nephews and good friends, all of whom he loved sharing one of his many farm stories or famous expressions with.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, October 18, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Pius X Catholic Church with interment to follow at Pleasant View Cemetery east of Cairo. Visitation will be held on Sunday, October 17, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Pathway Memorial Funeral Home. Deacon John Hill will lead a Prayer Service beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Memorial contributions are suggested to either, St. Pius X Catholic Church, P O Box 310, Moberly, MO 65270, MS Institute, mail to MS Institute, attn. Jamie McDonald, University of Missouri Health Care, One Hospital Dr, DC411.00, Columbia, MO 65212, Neighborly Community 4H, mail to Teresa O’Brien, 2054 County Road 1610, Cairo, MO 65239 or to the restoration of the Black Jack Chapel in Troy, IL, mail to Troy Knights of Columbus #9266, P O Box 133, Troy, IL 62294.
Condolences may be shared online at pathwaymemorial.com.