Joseph James Dodson

Joseph James Dodson, 84, died Nov. 15, 2008, at Centennial Park Retirement Village, where he resided since February 2006.
     Joe was born Nov. 21, 1923, in Lexington to Thomas George Dodson and Mary Cecilia Power. He grew up in North Platte, attending McDaid and St. Patrick Catholic schools. His first job was for the North Platte Bulletin as a newspaper carrier while in high school. In 1930 he stayed back a grade after a bout with scarlet fever which required a quarantine, making Joe a year older than most of his classmates.
     At the end of Joe''s junior year of high school, June 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and never actually finished high school. His mother accepted his high school diploma in May 1945, while Joe was serving in the South Pacific.
     Joe served as a staff sergeant with the 158th Regimental Combat Infantry, Cos. J and I. They were called the “Bushmasters,” an Arizona National Guard unit, made up of Navajo code talkers. His major battles and campaigns in the South Pacific were the Bismarck, Archipelago, New Guinea and Luzon. In October 1945 he landed in Yokohama, Japan. In January 1946 he returned to North Platte. He received a Bronze Star in 2006, 63 years after General MacArthur had promised it to the men for their valor in action in the Philippines. Joe visited the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2004 with his six sons where he was reunited with Gene Revis, a fellow soldier whom he had not seen since January 1946.
     Joe worked with his father and brothers as a house mover on his return from the war. He courted and married Gloria Monica Simmons, a St. Patrick''s graduate of 1946. They were married in Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sutherland on Nov. 29, 1947, and celebrated 56 years together. He became an employee of the Union Pacific Railroad, where he worked as a switchman and brakeman for the next 43 years.
     Joe also was known for his tree trimming and firewood business. In 1952, Joe built the family home in North Platte, where he and Gloria raised 10 children. It is a home and yard full of wonderful memories of family, neighbors, and friends.
     Joe served in the Nebraska National Guard Army Reserve, was a lifetime member of the American Legion, was a member of St. Patrick''s Catholic Church for many years, was a 4th-degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus Council No. 1211 and in later years was a member of St. Elizabeth Anne Seton Catholic Church. He was an avid supporter of St Patrick Catholic schools, having seen all 10 of his kids graduate from his alma mater.
     Joe will be missed by his daughters Shari (Gerry) Kraus of Ogallala, Cathy (Karl) Grover of Great Bend, Kan., Denise (Kevin) Burbach of North Platte and Carol (Silver) Palomino of Vail, Ariz.; sons Mike Dodson of North Platte, Niles (Suzy) Dodson of North Platte, Dr. Kent (Lois) Dodson of Lincoln, Pat (Rhonda) Dodson of Lincoln, Tim (Guisela) Dodson of Tustin, Calif., Paul (Hillary) Dodson of Lincoln; 27 grandchildren; two great-grandsons; four great-granddaughters; brothers Jim, Don and Fritz Dodson of North Platte; sister Darlene Peters of North Platte; step-sister Rosella Huether of North Platte; sisters-in-law Sister Shirley Ann Simmons OSU of Ogallala, Jane, Shirley, Marybeth and Marlene Dodson all of North Platte, and MaryAnn Carlson of Phoenix, Ariz.; and brother-in-law Niles Simmons of Wallace.
     He was preceded in death by his parents; step-mother Anna Abel Dodson; wife Gloria; brothers George "Bud", Bill and Tom Dodson; sisters-in-law Norma Dodson and Joan Simmons; brother-in-law John Simmons; and stepbrother George Abel.
     Memorials are suggested to the North Platte Catholic School Endowment. Online condolences can be shared at www.adamsswanson.com.
     Services will be 10 a.m. Nov. 21 at St. Patrick''s Catholic Church with the Rev. James Golka as celebrant. Burial will be at Fort McPherson National Cemetery with full military honors. Arrangements are with Adams and Swanson Funeral Home.