December 12, 1930 ~ April 14, 2019
Joe’s early years were spent in the sunny hills of San Diego ~ yet he came to love the Northwest skies and the landscape of mountains. Joe was the son of Joseph and Marion Vogel Gelzer. His Dad was a Navy man and Joe criss-crossed the country with his mother and sister, Barbara, following his Dad’s assignments. Joe changed schools as often as he changed states, going to four different 7th grade classes. Joe graduated from high school as Salutatorian and went on to get his Master of Science degree at the UW. He was an Air Force Lieutenant following his ROTC program and stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.
It was there he met his wife, Lori, and where they began their life together…living in Anchorage, Seattle, Monticello, Utah, Huntsville, and Mercer Island where they raised their family.
In retirement, Joe and Lori moved to Redmond. Joe was with Boeing for 35 years, until 1996 when he retired. He loved the challenges of the many programs he worked on ~ BOMARC, AWACS, Dynasoar, Saturn V/Apollo and was awarded the Role of Honor for distinguished participation in the first lunar landing, recorded in the Smithsonian Institute.
Joe is survived by his wife Lori, his daughter Suzie, son John (Loretta Mae), son Dan (Kathy) and 7 grandchildren Josh (Anya), Zech (Mallory), Kyle (Ruby) Abigail Anna, Ryan, Linda and Rebecca, 3 great-grandchildren Kaira, Zion and Oliver and his sister in law Nancy Dicus. Joe’s wish was to have a small family service, to be in May. Somewhere in Monticello, on a giant tree, written 6 decades ago is a carving “J loves L” and that was true for the rest of his life. Matt 25: 21