Joseph F. Wathen passed away on December 22, 2023, at 97 years old. Joe was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1926. At age seven, in the midst of the Great Depression, Joe’s family moved to a family farm in Hardin County, near Elizabethtown, KY. The farmhouse had no running water, electricity, or furnace, much like the nearby one-room schoolhouse that he attended. Joe and his brothers learned the value of hard work and determination, by necessity. They worked the tobacco crop and tended the animals, all while excelling in their schoolwork and athletics. In 1944 Joe volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Force where he served through VE day and VJ day.
Joe’s mother knew that her four sons would go to college, even though no one else in the family had done so. Joe was the first in the family to attend college when he used the GI bill to attend the University of Kentucky, graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. At UK he met Patricia McCutcheon and they married in April, 1952. Later, Joe earned an MBA from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Most of Joe’s career was with General Electric’s Aircraft Engine Group in Evendale, OH. Joe had a strong commitment to community service, and in that light served on and chaired Evendale’s planning commission for many years. Joe was later elected to the Evendale Village Council, initially by a write-in vote, where he served as a Councilman for the full twelve years of his term limit.
Joe and Pat were life-long UK basketball fans and would watch every televised game, wherever they were. Beyond UK basketball, Joe also had a passion for golf. He enjoyed the sport and participated in leagues until he was nearly 90.
While in Cincinnati and Evendale, Joe and Pat raised their four children, Mack (Nancy), Steve (Sandi), Cynthia Sandoval (Peter), and Ford (Jim Schmidt).
Joe and Pat enjoyed living in Destin, Florida during their retirement before moving to Columbus, OH to be near family for their final years.
Joe was predeceased by Pat, his wife of 68 years, and his three brothers, Tom, John, and Jim. Joe is survived by his loving family, including his children, eight grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.
The family will hold private services. Condolences can be left on the website of Tidd Funeral Home (www.tiddfuneralservice.com). In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in Joe’s memory to Franklinton Rising, (www.franklintonrising.org), or St. Brendan Catholic Church, 4475 Dublin Road, Hilliard, OH 43206.