Editor's note: If you appreciate being able to read posts like this one, and want to ensure ANC's ability to provide more content like this, please click here to demonstrate your support and become a paid subscriber.
Joseph P. Lobis passed away suddenly at his home in Wasilla, Alaska, on Tues., July 10, 2018.
Born on Oct. 15, 1936, in Weed, Calif., Joe was the first-born son of Joseph and Louise Lobis. Named after both his father and great-grandfather, Joseph Lobis went by many names throughout his life: Babe, Baby Joe, Joe, and finally, his most cherished title of all, Grandpa Joe.
Joe joined the Air Force in 1956, which is where he met his wife, Jean, whom he married on May 26, 1958. He was stationed at Johnson Air Force Base in Japan, as well as the Charleston Naval Base in South Carolina, and finally, at Eglin Air Force Base in Valparaiso, Florida, where he was honorably discharged on July 30, 1965.
His work as an engineer brought him to the Philco-Ford Company, then to Lockheed Martin Aerospace Corporation, working with the Space Shuttle programs in Sunnyvale, Calif. He retired in 2005.
Following his retirement, Joe and Jean moved to Redding, and then later to Alaska.
Joe was a walking dichotomy. On the one hand, he was quietspoken, but on the other hand, once he got going, Joe Lobis could talk a blue streak.
On the one hand, he was reserved, but on the other hand, he liked social gatherings; anything that brought people together, especially over food. Nowhere was that more evident than at his regular Friday-night dinners that he hosted in his home that featured some kind of pasta, and his special sauce. Everyone was welcome; grandchildren, friends, in-laws, ex-laws … everyone.
He loved to cook, Italian, of course. He and his sister Mary had a good-natured long-time disagreement about how to make their mother’s cavatelli. He insisted a pasta machine was used, while Mary said no. Either way, the pasta was delicious.
As much as Joe enjoyed cooking, he never passed up an opportunity to meet with family for a meal. Even if he was just sitting down to meal he’d prepared, if he got a call about a dinner invitation, Joe’s reaction was predictable.
“I’ll put it away,” he’d say.
Dance! Could that man dance! He was one of the rare men who regularly attended Jazzercise classes, which explained why, almost everywhere he went in public, various women recognized their fellow Jazzerciser and came up to greet him.
He was a creature of habit. He rarely missed a day to stop by Starbucks for his Frappuccino. There, he was delighted that the baristas not only knew him by name, but they knew his drink order.
Babe was a pet magnet. If there was one in the house, it gravitated to Joe. In fact, Joe was such an animal-lover that if there was a dog or cat in the house, you’d eventually find it either with Joe, or on Joe’s lap.
His heart betrayed him once, in his 40s, but he survived, only to live longer than he expected. He went on to pack much living, learning and adventure into his remaining decades. He had a multitude of hobbies and interests, such as electronics, technology and computers. He was actively involved in social media, which allowed him to keep up with his many friends, family and former co-workers around the world via email and Facebook.
Once he discovered Facebook, he was a dedicated user, often posting multiple times each day. He took quite seriously Facebook’s generic question, “What’s on your mind?” He posted on Facebook when he got haircuts. He posted on Facebook photos he’d taken of beautiful landscapes. He routinely posted what he fixed for dinner. And he was perhaps most enthusiastic about posting historical photos and information about Weed, Siskiyou County, and the surrounding areas, so much so that he gained a following of loyal strangers he’d never met; people who appreciated Joe’s shared interest in their northern California hometown.
Consequently, after Joe’s passing, messages came from far and wide, including from many strangers-turned-friends who’d read the news of his death on Facebook. They made a point of saying how much they liked him, how special he was, and how much they would miss him. Former colleagues spoke of their respect for him, of his goodness, and his depth of knowledge about satellite tracking.
“Heaven got a good man! I will miss his stories and his friendship,” wrote one person.
“I am so heartbroken to hear of his passing. He was a wonderful man and I enjoyed going to lunch with him at least once a week to Via Napoli,” wrote another.
Joe loved his family and friends; and the feeling was mutual. He embraced life, and packed as much as was humanly possible into every day.
His body may have aged, and his heart may have faltered and eventually failed him, but his mind remained young and sharp, which helped him maintain a strong interest in many things, such as mystery movies, enjoying word puns and learning more about history.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Louise Lobis, and his brother Patrick (Pappy) Lobis.
Joe is survived by his wife Jean; daughters Laura Decker and Linda Kilbourne; sons Larry Lobis and Louis Lobis and their respective spouses; his sister and brother-in-law Mary and Ron Kirby; as well as many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family members.
A mass was held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Wasilla, Alaska, on Wed., July 18, 2018.
A celebration of Joe’s life will be held in his hometown of Weed, Calif. on Fri., Aug. 17, 2018 at the Holy Family Catholic Church Hall from 4 to 7 pm. An Italian dinner will follow the celebration. Everyone is invited to stay, eat, visit, and share their favorite Joe memories.