Returning to the county that he loves, Joe married Delores Brown. They spent 59 blessed years together. Joe loved teaching and taught math for 46 years in the schools while tutoring many students on the side.
His love for teaching spilled over into coaching as well. He loved Clay County and enjoyed greeting people at the Dairy Queen that he owned and operated for 56 years. He was also an active member of the First Presbyterian Church serving the congregation in many capacities including the Board of Trustees and as an Elder.
Many days he could be found on his tractor plowing the fields he loved so much. The last few years, he loved spending his mornings with the "Hardee Boys."
Among his many honors, he was a Sagamore of the Wabash, Jaycees Young Man of the Year, served on the Clay Community School Board of 8 years and received the Golden Apple Award.
He is survived by his loving wife Delores, Brazil; his children, Wrangler Thomas (Vicki), Robyn Hetman (Nick), Jason Thomas (Celeste), John Thomas (Patty) and Jerald Thomas (Karla); two sisters, Joyce Oehler and Jane Gore.
He loved his grandchildren and made it his job to raise them as Christians. They include, Elizabeth Latham (Josh), Adam Thomas, Erin Tenkman (Jason), Nick Headley (Reesa), Alexandra Headley, Andrea Thomas, Lindsay Thomas, Joey Thomas, Luke Thomas, Jed Thomas, Nicole Thomas, and Brandy Thomas; and one great-granddaughter, Emily Elizabeth Latham.
Services will be held Tuesday at 11a.m., at the First Presbyterian Church, 210 N. Walnut, Brazil, Ind., with Gary Scroggins officiating. Music will be provided by Steve McCullough.
Burial will follow at Clearview Cemetery with military honors. Visitation will be Monday from 4-8p.m., at Lawson-Miller Chapel, 1702 E. National Ave.Brazil, Ind.
The family strongly encourages donations be made in his memory to the First Presbyterian Church or to Serving on the Streets, 100 North Forest Ave. Brazil, Ind., 47834. Light a candle in his memory at www.frenchfuneralhome.com.