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Joe K. Price, age 90, of Kokomo, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 10, 2023, surrounded by the love and warmth of his family. He was born at home on June 20, 1933, in Laketon, Indiana to his parents, Donald K. & Josephine A. (West) Price. Joe married his first and only love, Carolyn Beeler, on May 30, 1954, in North Manchester. They raised two beautiful daughters with all of the love and care in the world. They shared 69 years of marriage and a lifetime of memories.
Joe attended Laketon High School in Class of 1951. After high school, he worked for his family delivering eggs to the local communities. He was drafted in 1954 into the Army, where he proudly served his country in Germany. Before he left for Germany, he and Carolyn married, and she joined him in Germany. They lived in an attic with no refrigerator, a hot plate, and a twin bed to share. They made the best of it, never complaining. When Joe returned to civilian life in 1956, he went to Manchester College (one of his great granddaughters is following in his footsteps and will be attending in the fall of 2024) before he began working for Chrysler in Kokomo. After more than 30 years, he retired in 1989.
He enjoyed his retirement, using that time to travel with Carolyn to Florida, a road trip out west to the badlands, Germany, Hawaii, Alaska, Maine, Brown County, as well as yearly trips to Minnesota with his family. They share many memories of fishing on Eighth and Ninth Crow Wing Lakes, staying at In We Go Resort. It was a vacation they all looked forward to every year; they always enjoyed being together whether it was sitting around the table enjoying a home cooked meal, spending time on the deck, or hooking the boats up for a picnic on the water. He loved to go out on nine and fish for the big ones! Joe was a master fisherman, and he shared his knowledge and love of fishing with every member of the family. Growing up, he and his dad made all sorts of fishing lures that he still has to this day. When out on the boat, he would be so busy making sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to do, he often didn’t get to fish much. A few times his daughters would out fish him, so Debbie made him a shirt that said, “Bass Masters Dad” and he wore it proudly!
Joe was a member of the NRA and was an avid enthusiast! He was still a really good shot; he went shooting every week with his granddaughter, Rachelle, and sometimes other family members would join them. They were still enjoying their weekly trips just the week before he had the stroke. He grew up hunting rabbit, squirrel, and raccoon and trapping muskrat, raccoon, and turtle. Joe’s mom would cook whatever they brought home, so nothing ever went to waste. He loved nature whether he was in the woods, on the water, or just being outside enjoying the birds.
In Joe’s spare time you may have found him woodworking, making shelves and crafts for the grandchildren to put together, working in the flower garden, watching old westerns or Hallmark Christmas movies, reading, or looking at WWII books. He was the family historian and spent countless hours tracking his family’s genealogy back to the 1790’s long before Ancestory.com was around. He was a great storyteller, always captivating the grandchildren with his stories of his childhood. He had so many wonderful stories of his parents living on a houseboat, hunting and fishing stories, his uncle Butch putting him on a blind horse without riding experience to take him home, baseball stories, and so many more that we will hold close to our hearts. He also loved sharing his love of history. He was pretty tech savvy, especially for his age. He would text, even using emojis, watch music videos on YouTube, and facetime. Countless hours were spent searching for family history on Ancestory.com.
He was the best grandpa, always supporting all his grandchildren no matter what they wanted to pursue. He helped with science fair and school projects, attended father/daughter dances, gave Rachelle the confidence to run the uneven logs when she was training for an Air Force competition by running them in his late 60’s in front of her entire squad as they cheered him on, would ride his bike while Sarah ran when she was training for cross country and took her to the gym to workout, took DJ to the card shop and card shows growing his love of card collecting and practicing baseball trying his best to make him a pitcher, taking Ashley to the park and to get ice cream and teaching her how to shoot a gun; so many memories they will carry with them. They all have wonderful memories of Joe taking them to Highland Park to catch crawdads and feed the ducks. Once his great grandchildren came along, he would still do much of the same for them, he went to every softball and baseball game he could. He was so excited about all of their achievements and was their number one fan!
Joe was an amazing father, parenting with patience and kindness. He would let Debbie & Dianna break the rules a little when Carolyn was working afternoons. They would get to eat out of the pots and pans instead of serving dishes so cleaning up was faster and they thought that was best thing ever. He taught them how to work hard, give from their hearts to those around them, and most importantly, how to navigate this world with a positive attitude. He never got down or had a cross word for anyone (unless they were trying to take his fishing spot) even when things were tough. He was a great role model for the men in his daughter’s lives. George and Tom both lost their fathers at a young age and Joe stepped right into that role for them with never a second thought.
Joe was the ultimate husband! He loved Carolyn with all of his heart, if you saw them together you never had a doubt that he was crazy about her. They were always supportive of each other and truly enjoyed each other's company no matter what they were doing. They were members of the Eagles where they would dance up a storm after taking ballroom dance lessons. They were just as happy fishing, Joe always making sure Carolyn's cane pole was set up just right and was happy to bait her hook and take off her fish. In their later years he was her main caregiver after her dementia took her ability to take care of herself. He was so selfless in every decision he made for her. He couldn’t bear the thought of her being in a nursing home, so he made it possible for her to stay home with him. Even at his age, Joe did a sensational job with her care. He always held on to the hope that she would get better and be restored to her old self. The way Joe loved Carolyn served as a true testament to the great man that he was. The saying, “He was the best of us” fits him so well. He truly was the best; we all strive to emulate him every day. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Those left to carry on his legacy of love are his wife, Carolyn Price; daughters, Debbie (Tom) Maxson, Dianna (George) Butcher; grandchildren, Rachelle (Brook) Wells, Sarah (Dave) Taylor, DJ (Stephanie) Butcher, Ashley (Billy) Rex; great grandchildren, Brooklyn Wells, Taylor Wells, Wyatt Taylor, Adeline Taylor, Ellie Taylor, Quincy Butcher, Liam Rex, Bo Butcher, and Madelyn Rex.
Joe was welcomed into Heaven by his parents, Donald & Joesphine Price, and his brother, Donald Price Jr.
A private family service will be held. Committal will take place in Laketon Cemetery in Laketon, Indiana.
Joe’s family would like to thank the staff of Paradigm Hospice for the kindness they have shown him while taking care of Carolyn. Thank you for always taking time to talk to him about how he was doing, talk softball, politics, or anything he wanted. We cannot thank Regina and Shelby enough for the special care you both gave to Joe in his last days. You both were so special to him, and he had complete trust in you when it came to Carolyn. There is a special place in Heaven for you both, you have helped our family and countless others in ways you probably aren’t even aware of. The world needs many more people like you two!
Taylor & Cowan Funeral Home is honored to serve Joe’s family in their time of need. Please feel free to leave an online condolence or share a special memory of Joe with his family on his tribute wall.