Joseph was born in St. Louis, Missouri to the late Joseph, Sr. and Elizabeth Wolf. Joseph excelled in sports, particularly football and baseball. He attended college at Central Missouri State where he met his wife, Shirley. They married a few months later on Christmas Eve and remained together for 66 years. Joseph became a high school math teacher after graduation and football coach for over 30 years, even after relocating his family to Costa Mesa, California in 1961. His passion remained with athletics. He went into coaching such high school sports as football, girl’s basketball and volleyball, a woman’s semi-pro volleyball team and men’s semi-pro football team, the California Razorbacks. In 1964, he became the Athletic Director when a new School, Estancia High School, was built in Costa Mesa. He continued to teach mathematics and driver’s education. Among all his interests, Joseph was still able to continue his education by receiving his Master’s Degree.
Joseph pursued his social interests as well with vitality and conviction. He started a summer youth sports camp, published a book, was a life guard and swimming instructor, and spent many happy hours with his family. After retirement in 1998, Joseph and Shirley went to Europe and traveled around the United States, then settled in Fallbrook, California until they returned to their roots in the Ozarks and purchased a log home in Gamaliel, Arkansas. Eventually all of his children joined them with their families. Since he wasn’t able to play his favorite sport, tennis, Joseph found a new interest in which to compete, bridge. He was very active in the Mountain Home Bridge House and the Van Mater Senior Center bridge club. His goal was to become a Master Bridge player but his Parkinsons did not permit him to reach that goal. Joseph remained contented at home with his wife and family around him. He led a very accomplished life, was the strength of his family, firm but loving, and made friends easily.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Ann; Two daughters, Debra Smith (George), Lori Rivas (Francisco); two sons Dana and Kim Wolf; one sister, Marie Ingolsby (James); three grandchildren, Tina Rivas, Stacy Pledger (Daniel), and Kristen Rivas; five great-grandchildren, Bryana Rivas, Alexis Michelle Rivas, Gabriel Rivas, Kaitlynn Rivas and Domanic Pledger.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, February 27, 2014 at the Conner-Hankins Funeral Home Chapel
Memorials may be made to the Estancia High School Athletic Department in Costa Mesa, California. 2323 Placentia Avenue, Costa Mesa, California 92627
The online obituary and guestbook are available at www.conner-hankinsfuneralhome.com.