Joseph's Story

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Joseph A. Determan, age 84, peacefully passed away at home on May 24, 2017 from lung cancer. Joe moved to Phoenix Arizona April of 2016 into the care of his daughter, Roxanne Topel. Joe previously lived in Tazewell, Virginia with his wife of 22 years Mattie Fearn Thomas Determan who passed away November of 2015. Joes parting words to all his family and friends were I have had a good life, and you all enjoy yours!
Joes fondest moments growing up was riding his horse Rusty to school 2 miles with his cousin Margaret Shanahan. Joe said, I rode Rusty many miles, Rusty could outrun everything. (He even named his 4-wheeled walker in Arizona Rusty LOL). In high school, he went pheasant hunting and trapped mink with his best friend Otto Littau many times. Joe loved dogs; his favorite two dogs was Spot his dog as a young boy and Spike in Tazewell. Joe said, Spot helped me plow a lot of ground on the farm. Joe said, Spike was my dog and my best friend.
Joe was a Korean Veteran served in the Army working on missiles. Joe was an American Legion member for 29 years, joining the Pat Tillman Post 0117 in 2016 in Phoenix, AZ. Rick (Roxannes husband) bought a 1948 John Deere B Tractor to fix up for parades. Joe got to drive it in 2016 with a big smile on his face, he said it brought back lots of memories. The tractor will be used in Pat Tillman parades in Joes honor.
Joe had several first-time experiences in Phoenix. He had a TV in his bedroom and lived where is no snow! Joe dressed up as a sheriff for Halloween, played cards 3 times a week at the senior center, and made friends.
Joe said, I am excited to meet my twin John who was seven days old when he died. Joe said, I am ready to be with mom and dad, my brothers, Mattie, and grandson TJ.
Joe said, Thank you and love to Dallas, Cathy, Bill, Tyler, and Lakin White in Tazewell. The Whites are the best neighbors I have ever had and helped me with everything.
Joe chose to have his body donated to science, cremated, and returned to Roxanne for delivery to South Dakota where he was born and lived until he went in the Army.
Joe picked this picture out of many because it was at his favorite Mexican restaurant in Tazewell. Joe said, I like the picture because I am smiling and with my girl.
Published on May 28, 2017
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