Joseph William Gelo passed away April 18, 2008 at home. He was being cared for by Hospice and his loving wife. He was born May 4, 1928 in Waukon, Iowa to Fred Gelo and Emma Wendler.
Joseph is survived by wife Jacqualine Sturges, stepson Robert Daye and wife Cindy of Moab; son Bradley Gelo and wife Jean of El Paso, Tex.; stepdaughter Lynn Ford of Placentia, Calif.; stepdaughter Sherry Huchet of Peachtree City, Ga.; four grandchildren, Derrick and Brittany Daye of Moab; and Brandon and Christopher Gelo of El Paso; sister-in-law Dorothy Gelo of Postville, Iowa; and his beloved dogs Abby and Spike.
Joseph worked with his brothers on the farm in Iowa until he joined Army Paratroop (11th Airborne Division) in 1948. He worked in communications and radar. He was transferred to Missile Command at Fort Bliss, Tex. in 1952. At the time of his discharge he was in charge of a Missile Guidance Program. He worked at White Sands with Firestone Missile Division for nine years.
During that time he married Joan Smith who had a daughter Sherry and then they had a son Bradley. They divorced. Joseph hired on with Atlantic Research Corp. in 1962 as Launch Operations Supervisor at Green River. They fired over 300 missiles to White Sands, NM. He became Base Manager in 1965 and Launch Service Manager in 1972, responsible for directing field operations at Wallops Island, Va., Green River and Wake Island in the Pacific. Still with the same company nucleus but now known as Brunswick Corporation, Defense Division, his career took him many places.
He worked with the Israel Air Force and traveled to London, Paris, Egypt, Taiwan, Wallops Island, Wake Island and other Islands in the Pacific. He met Jacquie who was working as a Technical Illustrator for ARC in Green River and they married in 1963. They moved to Moab, and while Joseph continued working at the Missile Base they opened Canyonlands Trading Post, the Moki and Canyonlands Auto Parts (Napa).
When Joseph finished his 106-mile commute each day he would do scenic slide shows for the public and some of the many chores that Jacquie had lined up for him. There was nothing he could not do.
Jacquie was a potter and he built a huge gas kiln and a raku kiln for her. He also dug some clays that she used to make pots and glazes. When the overseas projects were completed he went to Brunswick Defense Division in Costa Mesa, Calif., as a program manager on many projects. Jacquie joined him after two years, leaving Robert and Cindy taking care of the stores and other interests.
Joseph retired in 1993 and he and Jacquie moved to Sandy, Utah and Rob and Cindy continue to run the businesses in Moab.
Joseph was part of the Lessman Racing crew and in 2006 he went to the Bonneville Salt Flats to join his special buddies Roger, Hoot and Glen. Two days after returning home he had a severe stroke from which he never fully recovered.
The family would like to express their sincere thanks to Life Path Hospice for their caring and devoted staff. Also thanks to Home Instead for their helpful aids that were so kind to Joseph. Joseph is a member of the American Legion, the Moab Elks, Masonic Lodge La Sal #30, El Kalah Shriners and the Scottish Rite in the Valley of Salt Lake City Orient of Utah.
Evans & Early Mortuary handled the cremation. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to The Shriners Children’s Hospital, Fairfax Rd. and Virginia, Salt Lake City, UT 84103.