Joseph Zokoe

August 15, 1923 - November 19, 2015
Tallmadge Township, MI


Life Story / Obituary


An avid outdoorsman through and through, Joseph Zokoe lived a rich and rewarding life filled with the people and experiences he treasured.

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during the exciting days of the Great Depression on November 15, 1923, Joseph Zokoe was the oldest of seven children in his family. He and his siblings, Leonard, Robert. Clarence, Charles, Frederick, and Betty Jean, were raised on a farm on Lake Michigan Drive, NW, near Standale. Joe attended the local elementary school and graduated from Union High School with the class of 1941.

As a young man, Joe was eager for all that life had in store. After graduating he joined the United States Army during the days of WWII, serving in Italy for three years. With his military duties fulfilled, Joe got into the well drilling business, which is the industry in which he spent the rest of his working days. He soon met Valarie Kurek Blakeslee, and they began dating. They were later married and settled into a home on 10th Avenue in Tallmadge Township where Joe lived throughout the remainder of his life’s journey. He was deeply saddened with Valerie’s death on March 28, 1984.

It wasn’t too long before Joe met Dolores Nunemaker while at church. She was a widow with two children, Mike and Steve. The couple was later married, and together they attended Holy Spirit Catholic Church for many years. Mike and Joe developed a longtime relationship that meant so much to Joe. It was also during this time that Joe started his own business, Zokoe Well Drilling. In August of 2012, he mourned the death of his beloved Dolores following a decline in her health.

As his family and friends can attest, Joe loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting and fishing of all kinds. He had a cabin in Marquette County as well as a cabin on Little bay de Noc where he often spent his summers hunting and fishing with family and friends. Joe ate whatever he harvested including fish, deer, and mushrooms. Even after the death of Dolores, Joe remained active. He still took numerous hunting and fishing journeys and looked forward to spending holidays with his family. Seeing his grandchildren always put a bright smile on Joe’s face. It was while scoping out some deer hunting areas in the great outdoors that he drew his last breath.

Joseph Zokoe will be remembered as a hardworking business owner, a devout Catholic, and a lover of the Michigan outdoors, but it will be his devotion to his family for which he will be remembered most. He will be deeply missed.

Joseph A. Zokoe, aged 92, of Tallmadge Twp, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, November 19, 2015. He was preceded in death by his wife, Valerie and his wife, Dolores. He is survived by his brother, Fred Zokoe and his sister, Jean Giese; his step-children, Mike and Dottie Tuttle and Steve Tuttle; 9 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren; many nieces, nephews and friends. Joe was a faith filled gentleman who loved his Catholic Faith. Joe honorably served his country in the US Army during World War II. He was owner of Zokoe Well Drilling. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting and fishing. A service to celebrate Joe’s life will be held on Monday, November 30 at 11:00 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial in Rosedale Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet his family on Monday at the funeral home from 10:00 AM until the funeral begins at 11:00 AM. To sign Joe’s guest book, and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at