Joe M. Bontrager

Joe M. Bontrager

Joe M. Bontrager

Windom, Minn.

Joe M. Bontrager was born on Jan. 18, 1930, to the late Menno JS Bontrager and Fannie Rebeca (Yoder) Bontrager, in Fairbanks, Iowa. He grew up in Buchanan County, Iowa, in an Amish family and was a member of the Old Order Amish Church and later East Union Mennonite. Joe attended Oakland school near Frytown. He later enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War on the USS Cacapon (AO-52) which was a T3 Cimarron-class fleet oiler acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II and served her country primarily in the Pacific Ocean Theater of Operations providing petroleum products where needed to combat ships.

Through the years, Joe lived in Kalona and North Liberty, Iowa, and Fresno, Calif., before coming to Windom, Minn., to live with family. Joe was united in marriage to M. Marie Milby, at First Christian Church in Iowa City, Iowa, and were later blessed with the births of their children, Jody Marie, Michael Allen and Timothy Gerard Bontrager. Joe later married Mary Rinker in Fresno, Calif., and they enjoyed over 20 years together. After Mary’s passing, Joe married Betty Wesson, who passed away in 2020.

Joe worked as a truck driver, hauling across the lower 48 states for Mayflower Van Lines, out of Iowa. He also worked for the Southern Pacific Fruit Express in Fresno. He drove for 32 years and retired in 1995. Joe was a member of American Legion Post #509 in Fresno, Calif. He enjoyed yardwork to create a pristine and beautiful home environment. Joe also spent time making models of heavy equipment.

Joe passed away Dec. 19, 2022, just one month short of his 93rd birthday, at home in Windom, Minn. He is survived by his daughter, Jody (Tim) Leon of Windom, Minn.; and sister, Esther Tate of Iowa City, Iowa.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; three wives, M. Marie Milby, Mary Rinker and Betty Wesson; infant son, Michael Allen Bontrager; son, Timothy Gerard Bontrager; infant granddaughter, Renae Marie Nelson; grandson, Barry Allen Nelson; brothers, Amos, Perry and Clarence; sisters, Lovina, Suvilla and Edna.

Blessed be the memory of Joe M. Bontrager. Services will be held in Spring of 2023 in Kalona, Iowa.

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