Former Great Falls
resident and military veteran Joseph James O'Leary, 84, died of natural
causes Nov. 27 at his home in Orofino, Idaho.
Services took place Dec. 1 at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Orofino.
Joe is survived by his wife, Floris, of Orofino; sons Jim (Vicki) O'Leary of
Orofino, Dennis (Sue) O'Leary and Paul (Vickie) O'Leary of Great Falls, Mike
(Jean) O'Leary of Santa Clara, Calif., and Tom (Taleen) O'Leary of Highwood,
Mont.; daughters JoAnn (Tom) Matsko of Great Falls and Marie Jacobs and
Eileen (John) Bobich of Redding, Calif.; 30 grandchildren and 15
He was preceded in death by his father, Patrick Francis O'Leary; his mother,
Mary Frances (Ryan) O'Leary; and a sister, Maureen Matthews.
Joe was born Oct. 26, 1923, in San Francisco, to Patrick and Mary (Ryan)
O'Leary. He proudly served his country as a navigator in the U.S. Army Air
Force from 1942-1945, then again with the U.S. Air Force Reserves from
1950-1953 during the Korean War, as a member of the Air Rescue Squadron
stationed in Alaska.
He married Floris Gregory on Sept. 21, 1946. In 1948, he graduated from the
University of San Francisco with a degree in business.
He worked for the Fire Rating Bureau in San Francisco and was transferred to
Butte, Mont., in 1958. He relocated his growing family to Great Falls, Mont.,
in 1962. He spent many days traveling across the states of Idaho and Montana
in his job as manager until his retirement in the mid-1980s. While in
Montana, he worked on the Boy Scouts Camping Committee.
In 1987, Joe and Floris moved to Redding, Calif., where he was actively
involved in Our Lady of Mercy Church, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club,
Lifeline, was division captain of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and any
other service he had time to do.
In 2004, they moved to Orofino, Idaho, where they resided in a house built by
their children and grandchildren. He became a member of St. Theresa's Church
and continued his membership in the Knights of Columbus.
Throughout his long life, he was always involved in service to others, giving
his time whenever he could. He left to his children and grandchildren a
legacy of volunteerism, a good work ethic and strong spiritual faith.
He loved his wife and family, God, our country, the great outdoors, the
"beloved Raiders," the annual family campouts at Holland Lake,
oatmeal cookies, getting to know his grandchildren, telling tall tales, growing
trees and flowers, fishing and "John St. Wayne."
His beautiful, kind and gentle spirit will be with us forever.
Memorial donations are suggested to Mercy Hospice, 1544 Market St., Redding,
Condolences may be posted online at www.gftribune.com/obituaries.