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WEBER, Joseph Wakerley, 90, of Tampa, passed away Wed., July 30, 2014, while recuperating from a fall sustained last week and complications including chest congestion. When the eighth day came, after having rallied a few times and experiencing weariness from this struggle in Joe's life fully lived, he simply said, "That's enough," and breathed his last. Up until he fell, Joe was going strong, slowing physically but mentally vigorous as ever. A witty storyteller and charming friend, Joe was also a dedicated husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and was loved by all his relatives. With a deep, abiding faith, he worshipped unfailingly at home - praying daily, reading the King James Bible on his Kindle and enjoying TV church services. Born in 1924, third son of three boys, Joe spent a lot of time with his mother who managed their home in Federal Point, Florida while Joe's dear father worked long periods away as a traveling salesman during the Great Depression. Scant earnings aside, Joe and his brothers, Alfred and Earl, lived boyhoods riveted around adventure in and out of the waters of the St. John's River in NE Florida. Catching fish and casting shrimp nets, plus a mother's resourcefulness, kept their stomachs full and spirits nourished. Joe was nearly inseparable from older cousin Billy Waller, as they spent hours in the river or camping out, body building during their teens, and becoming life-long friends. World War 2 ended youthful joys and, like so many men, Joe enlisted. After honorable discharge from the U.S. Army Air Corps, Joe slung his one bag of belongings into a bus headed for Illinois to enroll in Wheaton College, outside Chicago. While attending classes and grabbing lunch in the cafeteria, he met and fell in love with Phys-Ed student Betty Joan Lewis. On November 8, 1949, they wed and started their life together after Joe's graduation, working together selling door-to-door for the Fuller Brush Company. Eager for more, Joe and Betty loaded up their car with a single rack of possessions and moved to Florida "footloose and fancy free". Joe next pursued an accounting degree in DeLand, Florida, where he entered Stetson University. After interviewing with various firms, he was recruited by the FBI, being one of only two candidates from a group of 50 to get hired as a special agent. Then it was off to Washington, D.C. for 16 weeks of training. One more passenger joined them in this move, as they were proud parents of their firstborn son, Joe Jr. After D.C., Joe worked in FBI offices in Kentucky and Ohio, where they moved their growing family, adding another son and two daughters along the way. The FBI had been a good choice since he got to retire early, their next move being to New Port Richey, Florida. During this period, Joe rejoined his cousin Bill Waller in a fun job creating large floats for Vaughn Parades, in Tampa. His idyllic days on the river in mind, Joe retired with Betty back to Palatka, a town on the St. John's not far from his childhood home. For many years, they enjoyed scenic sunsets over riverfront property, but when the dock and other demands became too much for advancing years, they decided to move closer to their children's families near Tampa, and that is where Joe and Betty lived out their final days, watching their grandchildren grow up and caring for each other through trials of aging, Joe was preceded in death by Betty, his beloved wife of 63 years, and survived by children: Joseph Jr., David (Cindy) Weber, Dawn Armstrong, and Cherie (Harvey) Schonbrun; grandchildren: Amber (Timmy) McDonnell, Alan Schonbrun, and Austin Schonbrun; and great-grandson, Declan Alan McDonnell. Also predeceasing Joe were Joe Jr.'s fiancAC.e, Regina Marie Yoakum, and Dawn's husband, Robert R. Armstrong, Jr. The family will observe graveside services on Mon., Aug. 4, 2014, at 11 a.m., Garden of Memories, 4207 E. Lake Ave., Tampa, FL 33610. Pastor JAC Coad will be officiating, of Trinity A.R.P. Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, donations suggested in memory of Joe to: Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607 (1-800-528-1980)
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