Joseph Phillip Dolce passed to his heavenly dwelling with Jesus on Dec. 17, 2020.
Surrounded by family members in his home, Joseph’s last hours were filled with endearing words, prayer, song, tears and laughter. After years of being leashed to oxygen assistance for COPD he’s now free!
Born in Brooklyn, NY on July 18, 1939, he became one of the many “Joeys’” in his large extended Sicilian family. Raised in a typical Italian family home with his parents, sisters and Italian speaking grandparents, his formative years instilled in him the importance of close-knit family ties. With numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins, gatherings around tables full of homemade pastas, breads, and wine or morning pastries were frequent events nourishing his young life.
As a young teen he became a delinquent joining the Canarsie Boys gang. With the continual support of his family, to escape the danger and sure peril, Joey went from protecting gang street territory to protecting our country by joining the United States Air Force at age 17. The Air Force broadened Joey’s horizons to the west being stationed at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. He served as a Military Policeman, rank E-3, for four years followed by two years in Air Reserves. A highlight of his service was meeting First Lady Eisenhower. While guarding the presidential plane in the freezing rain, First Lady Mimi took pity on him and the other guards inviting them into the plane for coffee and doughnuts. This was a memory he fondly and proudly recalled.
While stationed at Lowry, Joe met and married his first wife Deloras at age 19, again becoming part of a large extended family. They added to that family with Christopher, Geralyn, Troy, and Aaron. After a divorce Joe remained integral in the lives of his children, involving himself in their activities and taking them on numerous camping and fishing trips. These outings included many of Joe’s nephews and nieces who lovingly referred to him as “Daddy Joseph”.
Early in 1981 Joseph met Christine. Four months later they were married and moved to Priest River, Idaho. It was their magical time, beginning life together in a 400 square foot cabin on their riverfront acre of land. As an avid and skilled fisherman, Joe was in his glory surrounded by all the pristine rivers in northern Idaho. There was no riverbank or fishing hole left unexplored and the “big ones” that escaped his hook became a delightful challenge to him.
Willing to raise another family with his young wife, their daughters Rose and Andrea rounded out their lives. At early ages the girls learned their Daddy’s fishing techniques and never let him forget the times they out fished him.
With carpentry as Joe’s trade the seasonal work in northern Idaho became difficult. So in 1992 the family left their beloved friends in Priest River and moved to Dufur, Oregon, securing year round employment. The 12 years in Dufur enriched their lives with lifelong friendships. In 2004 Joe retired and after a couple of moves, he and Christine made their final move in 2008 to McCall, Idaho, joining Rose, Andrea and their families. Joe’s new fishing adventures of the regional rivers and lakes now included patiently baiting hooks for seven grandkids! While in McCall he enjoyed many visits from his children and grands living in Colorado and Canada. He was blessed to be surrounded by his Dolce family for his 80th birthday celebration in Brown Park on Payette Lake.
Along with Joe’s love of family and fishing were the Denver Broncos. He began with them as a fledgling team in 1960 attending their first games at Mile High and DU stadiums. For 60 years he had their backs, knew the players and stats, cheered in their victories and often made excuses for them in their losses. Joe’s dedication to “his” team remains alive with several of his children and grandchildren. Talking football was one of his favorite pastimes.
Joseph was a natural born artist. Skilled in a variety of mediums his hands and visionary eye created pieces of art for enjoyment and practical use. From life-size sand and snow sculptures, chess sets, papier-mâché, drawings, paintings, furniture, board games, toys, unique wood creations, etc., his pieces were shared and enjoyed by many. His talents live on in his children and grandkids as he patiently taught them the love and eye of art, along with basic skills.
His creativity wasn’t just limited to art. Joe was a talented jack-of-all-trades. No home renovation or auto maintenance was too large to tackle. His resourceful creative mind, along with a shop full of items “that I just may need someday”, spoiled his wife, saved on the budget, and taught his children that nothing was too hard to attempt to figure out and repair.
In 1988 Joseph was baptized in the Priest River as a follower and believer in Jesus. Through the strength of Jesus he was able to kick his cigarette habit cold-turkey at age 50. Jesus walked closely with Joe through the stages of COPD and became more and more dear to Joe’s heart. John 15:5 was one of his favorite Bible verses: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” This verse along with others sustained and strengthened Joseph in his declining condition.
Joseph. Joey. Joe. He was well-loved and will be missed and remembered by many for his entertaining stories, talents, humor, practical jokes and easy going way. He is survived by his sister Ann, his loving wife Christine, children Christopher, Geralyn Ostrom (Brad) Troy, Aaron (Annette), Rose Cramblet (Aaron), and Andrea Dolce, along with 16 grandchildren, five great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Philip and Josephine, and sister Vita.
All are welcome to a Graveside Service to be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, January 30, 2021 in the pavilion next to the Finnish Church and Cemetery. We also invite you to join in the service via live-stream, the information to live-stream will be found at www.mccallfunerals.com once determined.
The family would like to thank St. Luke’s McCall Hospice for their consistent, tender care of Joe, helping him to achieve his passing exactly how he envisioned and desired.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Joe’s honor to St. Luke’s McCall Hospice through the St. Luke’s McCall Foundation, 1000 State Street, McCall, Idaho 83638 or online at www.stlukesmccallfnd.thankyou4caring.org
Online condolences may be left at www.mccallfunerals.com
Arrangements in care of McCall Funeral Home.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph "Joey" Phillip Dolce, please visit our floral store.
St. Luke's McCall Foundation
1000 State St., McCall ID 83638