NORFOLK — Memorial services for Dr. Joel Gillespie, 90, rural Norfolk, will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 20, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Norfolk. The Rev. Scott Schilmoeller will officiate.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at the church with a 7 p.m. vigil.
Home for Funerals is in charge of the arrangements.
Dr. Joel A Gillespie passed away peacefully on April 23, 2021, at his home with family by his side in Norfolk.
Joel was born on Nov. 3, 1930, in Columbus, to Dr. Joseph Theodore and Anna (Rodehorst) Gillespie. Joel met Dionne (Winkelman) Gillespie on a blind date while home on leave from the U.S. Navy, and on Aug. 6, 1955, they were married in Omaha.
Joel is survived by his beautiful spouse of 65 years Dionne, his eight children, Kim (Mike) Karweik of Hopkins, Mich., Marc Gillespie of New London, Wis., Diette Glenn and Rod Palmer of Ainsworth, Jeff Gillespie of Norfolk, Kathy (Van) Neidig of Battle Creek, Michaela (Glen) Chelberg of Minneapolis, Minn., Chad Gillespie of Norfolk, Amy Gillespie of Minneapolis; 15 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; along with nieces and nephews.
Doc, as his friends called him, graduated high school from Holy Cross Abbey in Canon City, Colo., before enrolling at Creighton University, where he spent two years prior to joining the U.S. Navy in 1951.
Joel proudly served his country on the USS Valley Forge during the Korean conflict. After his discharge from the Navy in 1955, Joel continued his education, graduating in 1958 from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn., and immediately joined his father’s practice in Norfolk.
Joel has always had a strong connection to his community through his support of many organizations, including his service on the Stanton County Planning Commission and as the Stanton County Commissioner for eight years.
Joel was a member of the Elks Club for over 50 years and the Lions Club for over 60 years. In 2012, he was honored by the Lions Club as the Grand Marshall of the Lions Day Parade. Joel was also a member of the V.F.W. and American Legion. He along with other wrestling enthusiasts began the OFK-Olympic Freestyle Wrestling club in Norfolk in the early 1980s for the grade school kids, sponsoring many wrestling clinics and events.
Joel loved agriculture and raising livestock. For many years, he and Dionne raised cattle and horses and farmed several hundred acres. Along with being a strong supporter of the ag industry, Joel and Dionne loved to hunt and fish. Because of this love, they purchased several properties in Brown County, starting in the early 1990s, including ‘The Pines’ resort in Long Pine and later, Jeannie’s Café, to complement the resort. Joel and Dionne loved sharing their second home in Long Pine with family and friends throughout the years.
Joel was preceded in death by his parents, J.T. and Anna, and a brother, Michael.
Memorials may be directed to the family for future designations honoring Joel’s favorite organizations.
Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.homeforfuneralsinc.com.