Joey Allan Waite

Joey Allan Waite passed away on November 20, 2022

WAITE—Joey Allan Waite of Florence and Eugene, Ore., passed away at home on November 20, 2022, from pulmonary fibrosis.

Joe was born to Allan “Bus” and Loretta (Johnson) Waite on Dec. 28, 1944, at the family farm on Duncan Island along the Siuslaw River. Along with his older brother, Elmer, he attended Siuslaw schools, graduating in 1963 from Siuslaw High.

After high school, Joe attended Eugene Vocational-Technical School (which later became Lane Community College) and received certifications as an aircraft and powerplant mechanic.

Rather than accept his draft lottery into the Army, Joe opted for service in the Air Force during the Vietnam conflict. He was stationed at Misawa Air Base in Japan and Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base in Saigon, Vietnam. Joe saw active service in South Korea as well, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant before being honorably discharged.

While on leave in 1967, Joe married his high school sweetheart, Sharon. He left for Misawa after their wedding and was later joined there by Sharon. They purchased a small off-base house and had a Siamese cat who climbed the curtains.

In May 1968, a major earthquake occurred offshore near Misawa. There was no major damage to their home or injuries, but Joe said it was one of the most incredible things he had ever seen or experienced.

Joe and Sharon returned to Florence after his tour and Joe worked on the family dairy with his dad. Together they built a herd of registered Jerseys. Later, Joe and Sharon purchased a home a few miles east of the farm and over the years expanded the family by three daughters (Laurie, Mindy, and Joy) and the house by several hundred square feet.

Joe did much of the work himself and with friends, custom building all of the kitchen cabinetry. His knowledge of secret compartments yielded some long Easter mornings, as the girls spent hours searching for baskets hidden where no child could possibly locate them. Joe also created a custom swing set, slide, and monkey bars that sat between the house and a large garden that featured rows of lima beans, which no one but Joe ate. Joe and Sharon later divorced, but remained friends.

Joe was an avid hunter and fisherman and loved the outdoors. He was a member of the Siuslaw Soil and Water Conservation Board and taught Hunter’s Safety Education at the Siuslaw Rod and Gun Club. Many family day trips were taken to Cape Perpetua and the Strawberry Hill Wayside/Neptune State Scenic Area to explore the tide pools and collect steamer clams, or up in the woods to look for deer and elk. Longer trips centered around hunting with his many friends, including destinations near John Day, the Steens Mountains, and remote Lake County. The long-sought trophy bighorn eluded him, which was a rarity in Joe’s hunting exploits.

Joe, Bus and Loretta hosted school field trips at their dairy during the ‘70s and ‘80s, which included a tour of the operations and was capped off with Dixie Cups for all. In 1986, Joe and Bus milked their last cow and participated in the Whole Herd Buyout Program. For the next several years, they raised beef cattle and rented out the pasture to other cattlemen.

Joe went to work at Davidson Industries in Mapleton and spent time on the river moving logs, operated equipment in the log yard and chip mill, and assisted with the cattle, hay, and silage operations. Over the years, there were many young men who thought they should be able to stack hay bales higher than Joe could, but few (if any) were successful.

Joe left Davidson Industries in 2000 and embarked on a new career with The Willamette Valley Company, traveling around the western US servicing equipment for wood products manufacturing and accumulating new friends. Joe retired in 2015 as the NW Service Manager.

Joe spent his retirement in the company of family and friends, tending his large garden (a local landmark), feeding and watching hummingbirds, buying abandoned storage units and distributing and donating the contents to local charities.

While strolling around the Lane County Home Show in the spring of 2019, he introduced himself to a woman named Barbara, and that was it. They spent the last 3 ½ years exploring the backroads and byways of western Oregon, growing and donating food from the garden, and having the best of times. Among their many adventures was a stop at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Florence, where Joe proudly showed Barbara his name on the wall, and many visits to Yachats and other coastal locations.

Joe is survived by Barbara; his daughters and their partners (Laurie and Ron, Mindy and Cian, Joy and Joey); his grandsons (Jackson, and Allan and partner Delanie); and Sharon. Additional surviving family members include sister-in-law Alta, brother-in-law John and his wife Brenda, and their children and grandchildren. Barbara’s adult children are Charlie, Sue, Cheryl, and Michele.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Elmer, and companions Peggy and Oyjean.

People are invited to come to the Mapleton Lions Club, 88158 Riverview Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to share and hear “Stories about Joe.” Like any time spent with Joe, there will be coffee, Joe’s favorite treats, and lots of smiles and laughter.

If you would like to submit a story or memory or picture to share, please send to [email protected] or bring with you to the event.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Food For Lane County or a veteran’s service organization in your area.