April 7, 2011

JOE NEESE, JR.
(7/4/1923 - 3/31/2011)



Joe Neese, Jr. was born in the two story brick house built by his great grandfather, on the fourth of July, 1923, in the Pleasant Retreat neighborhood above Tobin Creek, eight miles south of Memphis, MO. He was the only child of Joseph Presley and Beatrice Irene (Mendenhall) Neese. He left his temporary earthly body for his permanent heavenly home on March 31, 2011.

Joe attended Fort Donaldson Grade School and Memphis High School, graduating in the class of '41. He was a charter member of Memphis' first FFA chapter and pursued his life-long dream and heart's desire of being a farmer. By his senior year, this shy country boy worked up the courage to ask a Memphis ''city girl'', who had caught his eye, to the FFA Barnwarming Dance. His dreams of owning his own farm and marrying his one dream girl were put on hold when duty called in World War II.

Joe served in the Army's 32nd Infantry (Red Arrow) Division in the Pacific theatre from 1944-46. He saw action in New Guinea, the Philippines, and in the occupation of Japan. He was part of a recon unit and attained the rank of Platoon Sergeant. He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement. At the end of the war, the Army recommended him for a career as a foreman. Instead, he returned to Scotland County on February 14, 1946, to his first love of farming and the love of his life, Jacquelyn Padgett. They were married in Memphis, MO on June 2, 1946, and they honeymooned in Rutledge on the farm that Joe and his Dad had purchased. They raised crops, cattle, hogs, and sheep, as well as two children, Robert David and Mary Susan.

Joe chose to follow Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord as a boy and attended Antioch and Edinburgh churches. For over 60 years, Joe was a faithful member of the Rutledge Christian, and later the Rutledge New Testament church, where he served in many capacities, including a deacon and elder. More importantly, his faith defined who he was in every aspect of his life, how he lived and treated the land, his livestock, and others. The strength and integrity of his father, the twinkle in her eye and tender heart of his mother, their plainspokenness and work ethic were ever-present constants in his life.

Joe served on the Rutledge School Board, the F.H.A. board, and as a board member and President of the Northeast Missouri Angus Association. He was a life member of the American Angus Association and also served on the state board of the Missouri Angus Association. Beginning in the 1960's, he developed a herd of registered Angus cattle, which was his pride and joy. He always sought to improve his farm and his herd and loved to visit with others about Angus cattle. His happiest times were those spent working hard, caring for cattle, putting up hay, time spent in the timber cutting fire wood, and spending time with, sharing stories, and making memories with friends and family. "Retirement" was for others and never in his thoughts or vocabulary. He continued to be actively involved and worked on the farm past his 85th birthday.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, by his daughter, Susan in 1996, by his wife, Jacquelyn in 2002, by brothers-in-law, Clifford and Dick Padgett, and sisters-in-law, Mary Evelyn (Padgett) Childers and Pauline Padgett.

Joe is survived by one son, Robert David, and his wife, Angela, of Rutledge; three grandchildren, Jessica and husband Jack Goodwin of Topeka, KS, Vanessa of St. Louis, MO, and Michael of Los Angeles, CA; three great grandchildren, Brennon, Savannah, and Addisyn Goodwin of Topeka. Also surviving are sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, J.P. Childers of Memphis, Legene Padgett of Memphis, Barbara (Padgett) and Roger Briggs of Rushville, IL, and Hazel Padgett of Ozark, MO, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

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