Joseph Peter Hajba died on Sept. 18, 2019.
He was born to Joseph and Emma (Sabol) Hajba in Cleveland, Ohio, on Feb. 16, 1938, the oldest of six children: Donna, Rita, Robert, James and Judith.
His mother passed away when he was 14. His dad bought a delicatessen and the family moved upstairs. The older kids worked in the store and helped with the younger ones, but everyone had a job.
He attended John Carrol College for a year but then took an apprenticeship with Pipefitters Union 120 in Cleveland. He was already planning ahead to be married because a cute little gal with a ponytail and penny loafers would go bouncing by the deli window and caught his eye. Soon he and Jeanette Penton were dating.
Dad loved working on old cars and hot rods. He also drag raced but put that aside after he and Jeanette married in 1961. With this came buying a house and three children: Jacqueline, Jennifer and Joseph Leo. We enjoyed camping in Pennsylvania and picnics down in the Valley. Dad purchased a BSA motorcycle to cruise around with.
He went on a couple hunting trips out West and fell in love with the country. After taking the whole family on a trip out west to Cody, they moved there in 1974. Jeanette’s mother and father moved out also. They built a log house on the North Fork and all lived together.
As a family in Wyoming we had all kinds of adventures; hiking, dirt bikes, fishing, hunting, picnics and the rafting experience. The last one is a story in itself. He really enjoyed taking his HD Softtail to Sturgis on the 50th Anniversary with his son.
Dad still traveled pipefitting, but also sold Model Log Homes for a few years. In 1978 they opened Shoshone Canyon Tire. When not on the road working, he was in the tire shop with Mom. His pipefitting took him many places: the Alaska Pipeline, Perry Nuclear Power Plant, LTV Steel, CHS Refinery in Laurel; just to name a few. He never had to look for work, because of his reputation people called him.
There wasn’t anything Dad couldn’t fix. If you needed any tool you would very likely be able to find it in his shop. Dad had an amazing work ethic that he passed onto us kids, and we are all pretty handy around our own homes because of him.
These last few years he enjoyed working on his cars and the list of never-ending projects. He and mom enjoyed taking drives to watch wildlife. One favorite was watching all the birds in their yard during breakfast.
Joseph was preceded in death by his brother James. He is survived by his wife Jeanette and his children: Jacqueline (Lance) Miner, Jennifer (Gary) Wheeler, Joe (Lynn) Hajba; five grandchildren Jordan Wheeler, Jessica (Zach) Dominck, John Miner, Joseph and Jackson Hajba, and one great-granddaughter Veda Dominck.
Services will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at St. Anthony’s Church at 10:30 a.m., with graveside service to follow at Riverside Cemetery. A luncheon will be at 1 p.m. at the Miners house.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made in his name to the Park County Animal Shelter (or PCAS), P.O. Box 203, Cody, WY, 82414.