Joseph "Papa Joe" DesJardin

Born: Fri., Sep. 26, 1930
Died: Wed., Apr. 24, 2013


Recitation of the Rosary

7:00 PM Mon., Apr. 29, 2013
Location: St. Elizabeth Catholic Church


Mass of Christian Burial

10:00 AM Tue., Apr. 30, 2013
Location: St. Elizabeth Catholic Church


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Joseph “Papa Joe” DesJardin, 82 died at St. Charles Medical Center on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be held on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in St. Elizabeth Catholic Church.  Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in St. Elizabeth Catholic Church.  

Donations can be made to the Lions Eye Bank in care of LaFollette's Chapel, PO Box 488; Burns, Oregon 97720.

Joseph Gorgan DesJardin, 82, of John Day died April 24, 2013 in Bend, Oregon. Services were held April 30, 2013 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in John Day.
Mr. DesJardin was born September 26, 1930 in Calumet, Michigan to Emil and Celima (Perrault) DesJardin. He was the last of 5 boys in a 13 kid family. He attended Catholic Grade School across the street from his home in Hubbell and high school in Lake Linden, a 2 mile walk away.

He served in the Naval Reserves and survived a hurricane while on a destroyer ship off the coast of Bermuda before he was 18. Soon after he met a man on the streets of Washington D.C. and took off together driving for Alaska. His first day was his coldest arriving in Alaska at 64 below. He worked on the Alaskan Railroad privately at first then joined the Army to work another 4 years during the Korean Conflict.

He married Rita McClafferty in 1957 in Anchorage, Alaska then brought his bride and in-laws down on the Alaska/Canada Highway to later retire in Hoquiam, Washington. He then continued back to Michigan to complete a B.S. in Forestry (Silva culture) at Michigan Tech University, 20 from his hometown. Son Michael and daughter Ramona were born while he attended college. He got his first Forest Service job in Darrington, Washington where son Patrick was born. After 8 years he took a position in Prospect, Oregon. After 6 years, in 1974, he moved the family to John Day where he served on the Bear Valley Range District until his retirement in 1983.

He was very active in the Knights of Columbus of St. Elizabeth, serving as an officer. Papa Joe would be manning the fryer and playing Irish music during Friday Lenten Fish Fry’s. He became a Lion in Prospect, served and led in the organization for 35 years. He belonged to the Society of American Foresters and received his 50 year award. He belonged to the Catholic order of Foresters and was a long time supporter of the NRA.

He loved to hunt, killing his last elk by himself at age 74 in 18” of snow. He bagged moose, caribou, bear, deer, elk, antelope, and mountain goats along with rabbits, pheasant, waterfowl and ptarmigan. He belonged to the generations of Americans who hunted with one rifle their entire lives and qualified expert marksmen in the military. He was the first one up to make breakfast and make lunches for the hunt and he so loved the woods.

He was a hardcore huckleberry picker, traveling to Mt. Adams for many years. He always had the dog and kids along for the trip. He had a garden in the backyard most of his life, enjoyed nurturing many plants around the house as well. He fished here in Oregon and Washington but always said it never compared to Alaska. He raised a series of black labs for bird hunting, Molly was the best! He was a very good tree faller and brought in 6-10 cords of wood each year for most of his life. He was an avid downhill skier until age 75 and won many awards for woodworking.

Having driven the ALCAN Highway 5 times, Papa Joe was always up for a road trip. He drove to his family home in Michigan at least a dozen times, twice with grandson Daniel in the past 6 years. His favorite phrases of “Staying with it” and “Let’s do it to it” are what characterized the attitude and energy he brought forth in life. If he saw something that needed to be done, his hands were soon making it happen. He dug the entire basement of his family home out at age 16 with a shovel, wheelbarrow and a Studebaker pickup.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers: Emile (Air Force), Frances (Marines), William Paul (Navy) and Ray (Army) who all fought overseas during WWII and came home. Also preceded by 5 of his sisters: Emily, Marie, Louise, Theresa, and Anne who all served or worked for the government during the war years. His beloved wife Rita (married 25 years) was taken from him just over 30 years ago here in John Day. His daughter, Ramona, also tragically past away almost 9 years ago.

He is survived by his three younger sisters: Helen, Madonna, and Agnes (all in Michigan). He is also survived by his son-in-law Bill Patterson and beloved 1st born granddaughter Amy (both of Bend); his son Michael (Chellie), Marc, Daniel, Chantal, David, and Jon (John Day); his son Pat (Irene Isley) Arleigh and Eleanor (La Grande).

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