Joseph Charles Ortiz, 94, passed away Sunday, July 2, at Goshen Hospital surrounded by his family.
Joe was born Oct. 14, 1922, in San Antonio, Texas, to Joseph E. and Elisa (Bernal) Ortiz.
He served in the United States Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1945 as a ball turret gunner. He was shot down in 1943 and held in Stalag 17B prison camp for 18 months until liberation May 3, 1945. One of the proudest moments of his life was in 2012 when he was officially awarded the Purple Heart 69 years late. He was an active member of the former POWs of Stalag 17B serving six years as vice commander and commander, and participating in annual reunions. Throughout his life he was an active force in honoring and assisting veterans.
Joe was employed as export traffic manager at Miles Laboratories for 17 years and later retired as U.S. and international distribution manager from Lakewood Engineering in Chicago after 30 years of service.
Joe leaves behind his beloved wife and best friend, Marilyn Miller-Ortiz; three children, M. Christine (Mark) Geary, Laura Ortiz and David Ortiz; 12 grandchildren, Joseph (Lisa), Shannon, Tara (James), Shane, Christen (Devon), Aimee (Scott), Brian, Felicia (Stefan), Phillip (Rachel), Patrick, Matt (Angie) and Zach; 14 great-grandchildren, Blake, Jeremy, Corey, Raquel, Nathan, Cydney, Isabella, Aden, Peyton, Olivia, Mason, Wesley Joseph, Ike and Zoe; three daughters-in-law, CheriRae Wright, Patty Ortiz and Sharon Fullerton Flutsch; and countless friends.
Joe was preceded in death by a son, USAF veteran Joseph Charles Ortiz; a brother, Ernest Ortiz; a sister, Lydia (Ortiz) Granados; and his parents.
Joseph Ortiz was an American hero and a family hero. He served his country with dedication and pride and he led his family with wisdom, love, courage and most of all, humor.
A time for visiting and celebrating Joe's life locally will be announced later.
A military graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery will also be announced later.
Arrangements are pending at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home.
Published on July 4, 2017