Memorial services for Dr. Joel Gillespie are 10:30 AM on Thursday May 20, 2021 at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Norfolk. Reverend Scott Schilmoeller will be the Celebrant. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church with a vigil service at 7 p.m. Home for Funerals is in charge of the arrangements.
Dr. Joel A Gillespie, 90 years of age, passed away peacefully on April 23rd at his home with family by his side in Norfolk Nebraska. Joel was born on November 3, 1930 in Columbus, Nebraska to Dr. Joseph Theodore and Anna (Rodehorst) Gillespie.
Joel met Dionne (Winkelman) Gillespie on a blind date while home on leave from the Navy and on August 6, 1955 they were married in Omaha. Joel is survived by his beautiful wife of 65 years Dionne, his 8 children Kim (Mike) Karweik Hopkins MI, Marc Gillespie New London WI, Diette Glenn and Rod Palmer Ainsworth, Jeff Gillespie Norfolk, Kathy (Van) Neidig Battle Creek, Michaela (Glen) Chelberg Minneapolis MN, Chad Gillespie Norfolk, Amy Gillespie Minneapolis MN; 15 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren along with nieces and nephews.
Doc, as his friends called him, graduated High School from Holy Cross Abbey in Canon City, Colorado before enrolling at Creighton University where he spent 2 years prior to joining the Navy in 1951. Joel proudly served his country on the USS Valley Forge during the Korean conflict. After his discharge from the Navy in 1955, Joel continued his education graduating in 1958 from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee and immediately joined his father’s practice in Norfolk, Nebraska.
Joel has always had a strong connection to his community through his support of many organizations including his service on the Stanton County Planning Commission and as the Stanton County Commissioner for 8 years. Joel was a member of the Elks club for over 50 years and the Lions Club for over 60 years. In 2012 he was honored by the Lions club as the Grand Marshall of the Lions Day Parade. Joel was also a member of the VFW and American Legion. He along with other wrestling enthusiasts began the OFK-Olympic Freestyle Wrestling club in Norfolk in the early 80s for the grade school kids sponsoring many wrestling clinics and events.
Joel loved Agriculture and raising livestock. For many years he and Dionne raised cattle and horses and farmed several hundred acres. Along with being a strong supporter of the Ag industry, Joel and Dionne loved to hunt and fish. Because of this love, they purchased several properties in Brown County Nebraska starting in the early 90s including ‘The Pines’ resort in Long Pine and later Jeannie’s Café to compliment the resort. Joel and Dionne loved sharing their second home in Long Pine with family and friends throughout the years.
Joel was preceded in death by his parents J.T. and Anna and brother Michael.
Memorials may be directed to the family for future designations honoring Joel’s favorite organizations.
To send flowers to Joel's family, please visit our floral store.