JOSEPH B. WESNER, 93, loving husband, devoted father, veteran of Navy battles in World War II, retired 40-year Nationwide executive and longtime Westerville, Ohio, resident, died peacefully May 15 in the care of his children, Heartland Hospice and staff at Bickford Senior Living in Worthington, Ohio.
Born October 31, 1925, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Joseph Bartley Wesner, known to everyone as “Joe,” raised six children with his wife of 61 years, Therese Joan Glancy Wesner, who preceded him in death October 13, 2011.
Joe was always willing to share, humbly, the lessons he developed from a many-faceted life of successful pursuits -- college basketball and track at St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia, duty aboard the Navy destroyer USS Thorn in the Pacific, a business career in the specialty realm of reinsurance, and league tennis in Syracuse, New York, and Columbus, Ohio.
Yet it was his Catholic faith and families – the family that shaped his youth in Johnstown and the family he and Joan raised through Nationwide moves from Pennsylvania to Syracuse to Westerville -- that were closest to his heart, and his thoughts.
“The greatest thing that ever happened to me was my family,” Joe said recently, referring both to his days in Johnstown and raising his family with Joan.
Whether he was in church, at work, in a family gathering, analyzing the news, taking part in sports or observing them, Joe took notes – written and mental – making him an engaging mentor for scores of people, from friends to co-workers to family, including his 18 grandchildren.
Joe was always grateful for his life path, giving credit to the way his parents, Mary Marshall Wesner and Laurence Martin Wesner, a house painter and artistic craftsman, navigated the family through the Depression in Johnstown. Remarkably, Joe’s parents guided all eight of their children, four girls and four boys, through college
. “It’s a testimony to my mother’s determined effort that 90 percent of the college graduates in our neighborhood lived at 631 Wood Street,” Joe once wrote.
His version of the American dream was for everyone to do what they could to help others. While wintering in Florida in their retirement years, Joe and Joan were hospice and Meals on Wheels volunteers. They were active members of their church, St. Paul the Apostle in Westerville, since 1970.
Joe is survived by a sister, Ann Wesner Lewis of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts; five children, Paul (Linda) Wesner of Lewis Center, Ohio; Mary Bushek of Worthington; Anne (Edward) Miller of Worthington; Michael (Kathy) Wesner of Canton, Ohio; and Joseph (Stephanie) Wesner of Worthington.
He was preceded in death by his wife Therese Joan GlancyWesner; daughter Therese Wesner Neff; and six siblings: brothers William, Laurence and Michael; and sisters Mary Agnes Wesner, Catharine Wesner Roddy and Jeanne Wesner Bunyan.
Calling hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, May 20, at the HILL FUNERAL HOME, 220 S. State St., Westerville, 43081. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday May 21 by the Rev. David Gwinner at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 313 N. State St., Westerville, Ohio, 43082. Internment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery, 9571 High St., Lewis Center, Ohio, 43035.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Catholic Social Services, 197 E. Gay St., Columbus, Ohio, 43215. www.colscss.org