DECATUR - Joseph "Joe" Raymond Boecker, 83, of Decatur passed away on Thursday, November 5, 2020 at the Decatur Memorial Hospital. Born in Weslaco, Texas on September 17, 1937, he was the son of August "Gus" and Elizabeth "Beth" (Green) Boecker.
Joe loved living on the family farm in Weslaco where he enjoyed raising calves. He graduated from Weslaco High School with recognition for raising prize winning calves in the Future Farmers of America. During his high school years the Bear Hybrid Corn Co. enlisted his Dad in raising experimental hybrid corn on some of his farm land. Joe became involved in the process and soon after graduation, he moved to Decatur as an employee of the company. Seeing other opportunities, Joe eventually began his permanent career with Caterpillar, where he worked for over 20 years as a welder until his retirement.
Although no longer a farmer, Joe's farming instincts remained intact and he began raising pumpkins in his backyard. His goal was to see how big he could produce them and he was quite successful at doing so. Among Joe's favorite pastimes were playing cards, billiards and bowling. He and his teams did very well in competing with various bowling leagues in Weslaco as well as in Decatur. He even managed to score a perfect 300!
An avid spectator of horse racing, Joe frequented the local off-track betting sites, where he put his analytic skills to the test. It was on one of these trips to Springfield to watch the races that Joe had a mild stroke that led him to residing at Lincolnshire Place for the past 14 months.
Living a simple, modest and purposeful life, Joe was a minimalist before it was cool. For many years he was a familiar face at Diamond Family Restaurant, eating nearly all of his meals there.
Joe was a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church where a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 13, 2020. Celebrant will be Fr. Michael Friedel assisted by Deacon Kevin Richardson. Interment will follow at Graceland Cemetery. Visitation will take place at the church immediately preceding his service from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Joe is survived by his sisters: Cecilia Bengele of Helotes, Texas and Dorothy Becker of Galveston, Texas; nieces and nephews, Catherine and Gregory Ward of Houston, Texas, Rosemary and Steven Sater of Los Angeles, California, Patricia Bengele of Helotes, Texas, Elizabeth Bengele and Gregory Pappas of Dracut, Massachusetts, Michael and Ann Bengele of San Antonio, Texas, and John Becker of Galveston, Texas; four great nephews: Mathew Ward of Houston, Texas; Samuel, Jackson and Oliver Bengele of San Antonio, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents, Gus and Beth Boecker; brother Bernard Boecker; and brothers-in-law, Florian C. "Bud" Bengele and Henry Becker.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed in his name to St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 2160 No. Edward St, Decatur, IL 62526 or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of Graceland Fairlawn Funeral Home.