by Jim Benda
Joe worked at careers in real estate sales and management, and with the State of Minnesota Workforce Centers as a job search counselor and as a resource person supporting small businesses in Minnesota.
Beyond that, he was an artist and creator, like his Father in heaven. He made finely crafted walking sticks. Jim Rolland describes Joe as a very gifted musician, serving weekly with music ministry at prayer meetings and also at local, regional and national conferences. His rich, resonant baritone voice filled any room. He was also an accomplished trumpet player. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he wrote songs, one of which was published in the original Sing Our Your Praise community songbook.
Joe was a force behind Servant Quarters, the dinner theater that our branch ran for several years. He served with our evangelistic music outreach, Servant Song, which performed at churches, festivals and conferences. Joe’s spontaneous comedic persona brought sidesplitting laughter and tears of joy to any audience. His antics at music conferences, Steubenville youth conferences and dinner theaters brought down the house.
Will DeSanto adds, “When Joe spoke, his love for Jesus and his family were primary. He helped me when I was struggling by sharing a word of wisdom and encouragement. And he called me when he needed to pray for his family and for his concerns. We prayed over the phone.”
Jim adds that Joe “was always a generous, thoughtful, kind, loyal man of God, a lover of Jesus and a dear brother to me.”
● Joe was born in Blue Springs, Nebraska, April 26, 1942, and died in hospice care August 8, 2019, in Edina, Minnesota.
● He was raised in Wymore, Nebraska, and in high school displayed talents for woodworking, art, acting and music. He played Sherlock Holmes in his senior play.
● Joe moved from Nebraska to Minnesota in 1966, started attending prayer meetings and joined Servants of the Light community in the early 1970s.
● Joe and Bonnie Knott were married during a January 2, 1981, snowstorm. Together they lived out their marriage vows in faithfulness to the Lord and raised three children, and there are now four grandchildren. They made the People of Praise covenant on January 27, 1985. Bonnie died of brain cancer in 2009.
Jerry Wind says:
May 12th, 2020 at 6:15 PM
In the early days of community Joe was a good friend of mine, staying with us in our household for a very brief time. We worked in the same office for a few years and, as a realtor, he helped us house hunt with great diligence. In those days you visited every house you saw. There was no on-line. Joe was a big part of the foundation of Servants of the the Light which later became Servant Branch of People of Praise. He leaves me with many fond memories of those early days. Thank you Joe for sharing your wonderful personality and gifts with us.
Alan Nicklaus says:
May 12th, 2020 at 6:26 PM
I recall being in men’s group with Joe and it always impressed me how kind, loving and thoughtful he was of others. He had a servants heart and was willing to help out when needs arose. I appreciated Joe and his wisdom that he brought to our men’s group and for my life situations.
Joe was truly a righteous man of God.
Mike Zusi says:
May 12th, 2020 at 6:38 PM
I first met Joe serving in a music group for one of the large Charismatic conferences. He was a huge presence in the group and his wonderful voice would fill the room every time we prayed together as we warmed up. When Joe wanted to pray, it was time to pray! He clearly loved the Lord and his enthusiasm would simple gather you to him. He served us very lovingly.
Joan Hiel says:
May 13th, 2020 at 2:00 AM
I grew up listening to his voice in Servants of the light, and servant branch, but his trumpet playing brought my soul straight into the Lords presence. I still hear it when I sing songs that he played too. I had the honor of teaching his children when they were young. He and Bonnie were amazing parents and always had great things to say about their children. He will be missed. I bet he’s playing and singing in some heavenly choir.
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