Posted: October 5th, 2012

Joseph Elmo Roberts was born in Woolford, Alberta, on February 1st, 1920 to William Wallace Roberts and Estella Laverne Pickett. He was the seventh child born into the family. As a youth one of his fondest memories was of kneeling around the table for family prayer. He had athletic brothers and Joe was no different. Joe played on many of sports teams, baseball, basketball, and track and field. He had a great talent for music and sang with his brothers on many occasions. He learned to sing, play harmonica, play piano and never learned how to read music.
When Joseph was in grade 11 his brother Darwin and he had an agreement that one would stay home while the other completed school. When the schooling was complete they would change around responsibilities so each would be able to complete their education. Joe agreed to stay home and shortly after his brother, Darwin, completed his education he passed away so Joe’s high school education ended at that time. He always had a love for learning and learned many things throughout his life.
On October 2nd, 1941, Joe at the age of 21 married LaRue Torrie, a 19 year old girl from Grassy Lake, that he’d been dating while living in Calgary while attending Tech School. He and LaRue moved to Red Deer as Joe had volunteered to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces during World War II. Joseph served in World War II from 1942 to 1945 and was stationed in England, France, Holland, Belgium, and Germany. He ended up close to Berlin when the war ended. He was trained as a mechanic in the 85th Canadian Corps of Bridge Builders and Engineers. He was always stationed just ahead of the artillery and armored tanks. His job was to fix the trucks and machines that broke down. He also assisted in building bridges for the artillery to advance into territory that was just captured and many times these soldiers were stranded behind enemy lines. When stranded behind enemy lines these men would hide in barns and the local people would take pity on them and feed them. They were fed sauerkraut by the locals in Germany to keep them alive and from that time on he always loved that food, the stronger the better.
When World War II ended Joe returned home to find that his wife LaRue had purchased 40 acres in Woolford and a piano. They purchased more land from Joe’s dad that included an unfinished rock house that was made from the same granite that the Cardston Temple was built from, that Joe finished. Joe was known as “Rockhouse Joe” because of the house. In 1946 Joe and LaRue had their first child, DaMar, followed three years later by Merril. Joe and LaRue farmed together for 21 years in Woolford and added Falene, Lyle, Glade, and Sheila to their family. In 1966 Joe and LaRue sold the farm and moved to Lethbridge where Joe worked for a Ford tractor dealership as a partsman. In 1967 Joe and LaRue bought a motel in Waterton, the El Cortez, and the family spent 5 years working together each summer. He also worked for Ellison Milling as a maintenance worker until his retirement at age 65.
Until 1965 Joe and LaRue had not had a family vacation so they purchased a camper that was mounted on the back of a truck and they loaded up the family and headed out. Each year after that they always took time for a family vacation going to various destinations in Canada and the U.S.
Gardening was one of his favourite past times throughout his life. Each year he enjoyed tending to his garden, watching it grow, and loved sharing the produce with his family.
After retiring he cared full-time for LaRue as she was experiencing health problems. He continued his gardening when it was warm enough to do so and when it was too cold to garden he enjoyed puzzles of any kind.
Joe always had a quick wit with many sayings and was never afraid to work. One of his favourite sayings was, “Give it the work cure!”
Throughout his life he served in at least four bishoprics and numerous other callings in the LDS church. There were many hours spent in helping people in the community and teaching his family that service was an important part of life.
Joe is loved by his wife LaRue, his 6 children and their spouses, 45 grand-children and their spouses, 57 great grand-children, extended family, and many friends.
The Funeral Service will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, MAGRATH GARDEN PLACE CHAPEL, 170 N Centre Street, Magrath on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.
Friends may meet the family at the Church prior to the funeral service from 9:45 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. Interment in the Woolford Cemetery.
Christensen Salmon Generations Funeral Home Ltd.
703-13 Street North
Lethbridge, AB T1H 2T2
Phone: (403) 382-3601
Fax: (403) 320-1492
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