Joe Max Valentine, 92, a resident of Greenwood for 63 years, passed away Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, of natural causes.
Born July 1, 1922, his life journey led him from poverty as a coal miner’s son in Sullivan to success as an electronic sales representative and owner of his own electronics firm in Greenwood.
However, his greatest measure of success was as a loving and loyal husband, father, son, brother and friend.
One of the few remaining veterans of the Greatest Generation, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge as a U.S. Army lieutenant during World War II, freed the POW camp Dulag-Luft for allied airmen near Wetzlar, Germany, and was promoted to captain to serve for two years after the war in Germany during the military’s transitional efforts.
Joe was born in Sullivan and spent his childhood there. After graduating from Sullivan High School in 1940, he received a scholarship to attend the prestigious engineering school Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) in Terre Haute. He graduated in 1943 with an electrical engineering degree. Although he should have graduated in 1944, all eligible members of his class who were called to service were allowed to graduate early so that they could serve as engineers in World War II.
While Joe was working in Germany after the war, he met the love of his life, Louisa Krasova, a Czech beauty from Prague, whom he married in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1946.
A year later, their daughter Patricia was born. The young family moved to the United States in 1948. After several years working as an engineer on the East Coast and then a sales representative for Robert Whitesell and Associates in Indianapolis, he started his own company, Valentine and Associates, which expanded over the years until Joe retired and sold his company in 1993.
He was a proud alumnus of Rose-Hulman, serving as president of the Rose-Hulman Alumni Association in 1986, class agent for 36 years and one of the sponsors of the solar-powered race car, which competed in the 1995 “Sunrayce” from Indianapolis to Colorado.
Joe was a lover of people, puzzles, balloons, magic, classical music, the Indianapolis Colts, reading and travel.
He lived life to the fullest as exemplified by his favorite saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
Organizations he supported include the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, USO and Father Flanagan Boys Town. He belonged to the Electronic Representatives Association and Greenwood Rotary, among other organizations.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Louisa Krasova Valentine; mother, Elsie Laper Valentine; father, Joe R. Valentine; sister, Phyllis Gunderson; brothers, Rex and Jack Valentine; niece, Valerie Gunderson Osiecki; brothers-in-law, Harold Gunderson and Robert Baum; and sister-in-law, Ann Grubaugh Valentine.
He is survived by a daughter, Patti; two sisters, Diane (Harold) Metheny and Carol Baum; sister-in-law, Bonnie Valentine; nephews, David Gunderson, Andrew Baum and Tim Baum; nieces, Amy Metheny, Krista Metheny Hensley and Rachel Metheny; and seven great-nieces and great-nephews.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Joe Valentine Endowed Scholarship Fund at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (www.rose-hulman.edu/give Office of Development, 5500 Wabash Ave., Terre Haute, IN, 47803); Greenwood Public Library (www.greenwoodlibrary.us) or United Service Organizations (www.uso.org).
The memorial service and celebration of life will be at 2 p.m. Friday in the chapel at Broadway United Methodist Church, 609 E. 29th St., Indianapolis, IN, 46205. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. until service time Friday at the church. A reception will follow the service at the church.
The family is especially grateful for the compassionate care that Joe received in his final days from Great Lakes Hospice and for more than five years from the staff of The Hearth at Stone’s Crossing in Greenwood.