“Be not afraid of greatness.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
MISSOULA – Tuesday, April 5, 2016, marks the passing of a “great” man, our father, Joseph Eugene “Sonny” Stetka.
Joe passed away peacefully during the night, at his home in Missoula of natural causes.
Joe was born on June 28, 1939, and raised in Racine, Wisconsin. It was there that he spotted the love of his life, JoAnne, through a storefront window. Winning her love, and hand in marriage, the couple had two daughters together, Theresa Jean and Cynthia Lee.
Joe’s love of the outdoors led him to move his young family to Missoula in 1974. Being an avid hunter and fisherman, he shared his passion with his family and many, many friends and relatives. Many days were spent driving around the mountains looking for places to take the dogs for a run or swim in the river. Looking for deer or just a nice spot to “throw a worm in the water.”
Life was an experience when you ran with Joe, from the wild hotrod days of his youth, to the many experiences shared with all of us kids. Whether you learned to drive down a dusty mountain road, shot your first gun or learned to cast a fishing lure, Joe was the “cool guy.”
“How could you not love Uncle Joe?” Tony Henkel.
Employed with U.S. Plywood and Champion Building Products, Joe became actively involved in Local 3038. He was voted into office as Union president, which he held for 14 years. He was a champion for the “underdog,” and fought diligently for fair and just treatment of his co-workers. Joe was, and always will be, the greatest man I will ever know, and I am more than proud to have called him my dad. He will be deeply missed, but knowing he is with his love again makes the pain a little easier to bear.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, JoAnne Henkel Stetka; his parents, Joseph Stetka Sr. and Ann Mostek Stetka; two sisters, JoAnne Stetka McPheron and Suzanne Stetka Tempesta.
Surving are his daughters, Theresa Stetka Bryant and Cynthia Stetka Gullett; his younger brother, Jerold Stetka; six grandchildren, Korie Bryant, Kelsey Bryant-Fielder, Kellie Bryant, Michele Gullett, Christopher Gullett Jr., and Kailie Gullett. Joe also had three great-grandchildren, Maci Gullett, Elijah Gullett and Bailey Mae Rose (Bryant) Shoop. A fourth great-granddaughter is due in June 2016, to Michele Gullett.
“When I look at the rivers, lakes and mountains, I see Grandpa. He will always be there.” Kellie Bryant
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, April 23, at 2 p.m. at Sunset Memorial Gardens. Condolences for Joe’s family may be left at missoulafuneralhomes.com.
It was Joe’s final wish to be cremated and interned with his wife, JoAnne.
Hand in hand, once again, they will pass through the eternal gates of Heaven together.