Joseph Stanley DeVille, known to family, friends and everyone he met simply as “Joe,” died quietly at Parkview Hospital Randallia on March 25, 2021. His silent departure was a marked difference for someone more recognized as a jolly, loud, funny, and happy man. He was 84 years old.
Joe lived life as he shared each day with others, including his loving wife of 63 years, Mary, and their four daughters: Find humor in everything, have a good time, and be unapologetically yourself. For him, flatulence (farts) was a riot, gatherings and occasions were a must, and being earnest and honest were hallmarks.
Born April 19, 1936, during the Great Depression to Frank J. and Katherine C. (Libbing) DeVille, Joe was the youngest of six children. He regaled in telling stories growing up in Fort Wayne, often getting pounded on by his four very protective older brothers and the affection and kinship he had with his sister. He was joyful also of telling and sharing jokes, his laughter rising like a crescendo from deep inside his belly and belting out klaxon style when the best lines were delivered.
Raised in the Roman Catholic traditions, he attended school and church at Most Precious Blood Parish. He later attended Central Catholic High School, where he graduated from in 1955. He was on Central Catholic’s City Series 1954 title football team, which went 5-1-2 with Joe being among seven Irish players on the all-city squad while playing both offense and defense.
At Most Precious Blood, Joe started dating the love of his life. He met Mary Remmers when she was a 15-year-old sophomore at South Side High School and he was a 13-year-old eighth-grader. While it might have been considered unorthodox, theirs was an uncommon and genuine love. They were married June 29, 1957, in the church where Joe was baptized, had first communion, and was confirmed.
While living on Wells Street their first couple years together, the DeVille family grew. In 1960, they moved into a modest three-bedroom, one-story ranch home they built on Bayberry Drive in Crestwood Colony to raise their daughters- Michelle, Denise, Julie and Jennifer.
But as their family grew, they decided to build anew. Their third residence was the two-story, four-bedroom home with a two-car garage they built in 1968, moved into and never left. Located on a wooded lot, it was flanked by homes owned by two of Joe’s brothers. The setting was wonderful to raise their growing girls, across from a park and with open fields nearby.
Like with his faith and family, Joe’s work career was also steady and driven. As a teen-ager, he worked as a soda jerk for Schomberg Drugs. He also helped the Schombergs at some dog shows with their Great Danes.
Joe attended college before finding a job at age 22 as an inside sales assistant with Dana Corp.’s Weatherhead Division on West State Street. He helped hawk hydraulic hoses, hose ends, assembly equipment, tube fittings, couplings and support accessories used in construction, mining, agriculture, and truck and bus applications.
He was very good as a salesman and loved it. He rose to hold the title of Regional Sales Manager, travelling across the Midwest to visit businesses big and small, corporate and family-owned. He spent 40 years with Dana Weatherhead, retiring in 1999 at age 62.
Joe drove company cars manufactured by Pontiac, and usually bought those autos for his family when he received newer models. Pontiacs were always close to his heart, his favorite being the classic red 1975 Pontiac Grandville he owned and cherished for years.
While he spent his lifetime being frugal and money-minded, Joe was not cheap. He was very charitable with others and in his community. He regularly donated to a variety of non-profits and his church, having also belonged to St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Joe’s favorite adage: “Put a smile on your face for the whole human race.” That attitude was extended to his whole family and friends. He was always glib and glad-handing, with his energy filling a room.
Energetic is an understatement when talking about Joe and his myriad activities. When not doting on his wife, daughters and their families (including eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren), Joe didn’t stand around. He was constantly making home improvements; fixing his cars and Ford F-150 pickup truck; and working on his yard to maintain an immaculate lawn and landscape.
Joe and Mary enjoyed sitting together in their backyard or on their enclosed back deck, embracing nature and watching things aflutter near their bird feeders. They always looked forward to Wednesday dinners out with their Central Catholic group. They loved dining on Italian food at Casa d’Angelo’s restaurants, getting to know the staff at each location on a first-name basis.
The DeVilles enjoyed vacationing in Florida, particularly at their Lido Key Beach time-share in Sarasota and another favorite spot on Estero Island in Fort Myers Beach. Their treks always included plenty of beach time because Joe loved to walk, particularly with Mary.
He became enamored of tennis, which he picked up in the early 1970s during his Dana Weatherhead days as something to do while he was on the road. He was always looking for a game, and played the sport well into his 70s. He was a long-time member of Wildwood Racquet Club, and followed pro tennis as a devotee.
Something else he was devout about was University of Notre Dame football. He considered himself a member of the Catholic university’s famed subway alumni, and he rarely missed games broadcast on TV or radio. He regaled in Notre Dame lore, particularly with one brother-in-law and one of his sons-in-law who covered the Fighting Irish for The Journal Gazette. He had an overflowing home of ND apparel and paraphernalia, and made occasional pilgrimages to Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.
Both Joe and Mary loved pets, always having dogs and cats in their home. They were fond of Springer Spaniels, and had three of that dog breed: Princess, Sassy and Shadow. They more than regularly took them for strolls, brought them to the vet, and absolutely adored them.
Besides Mary, Joe is survived by his sister-in-law, Mary Ann DeVille, of Sarasota, Florida; his four daughters, Michelle (and Bob) Bandor, of Fort Wayne, Denise (and Richard) Martinez, of Jenison, Michigan, Julie DeVille, of Fort Wayne, and Jennifer (and Eric) Branning, of Fort Wayne. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, Natalie Bandor, Allison Bandor, Rachael Branning, Emily Branning, and Ashley DeVille, all of Fort Wayne; Mitchell Martinez, of Ypsilanti, Michigan; Hayden (and Brittany) Martinez, of Wyoming, Michigan; and Hannah Martinez, of Grand Rapids, Michigan; two great-grandchildren, Emersyn, the daughter of Rachael Branning, and Mason, the son of Hayden and Brittany Martinez; and several nieces and nephews located across the U.S.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Frank J. and Katherine C. (Libbing) DeVille; four brothers, James A. DeVille, David A. DeVille, John DeVille, and Paul Edward DeVille; and his sister, Jeanne M. (DeVille) David.
There are no visitation, funeral services, funeral Mass nor burial planned. Divine Mercy Funeral Home and Catholic Cemetery is handling arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that memorial contributions be made in Joe DeVille’s name to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Allen County SPCA