Joseph Lucas O’Rear

Jan. 2, 1921 – June 29, 2013

Joseph O’Rear of New Berlin passed away at the age of 92 on Saturday, June 29, 2013, at Zilber Family Hospice in Wauwatosa surrounded by his daughters. Joe was born in Lebanon, Ind., on Jan. 2, 1921, the son of Frederick L. and Edna (Brown) O’Rear.

Joseph proudly served his country in the U.S.

Army in England during World War II, where he was stationed with the 748th Bomb Squadron of the 457th Bomb Group as a radio mechanic. He was involved in the battle and campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, Central Europe and Air Offensive Europe, where he received a European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with one Silver Battle Star and one Bronze Battle Star, two overseas service stripes and a Good Conduct Medal.

Joseph achieved the rank of staff sergeant.

Joe was united in marriage to Joan Lou Ferguson on May 3, 1942, at the Washington Square Methodist Church in Greenwich Village. He and Joan made their home in Sioux Falls, S.D., Windsor Field, Utah, and Grand Island, Neb.

They also lived in New York City. They later made their home in West Lafayette, Ind., Homewood, Ill., and Michiana Shores, Ind. Joseph received a Bachelor of Science degree in trade and industrial education from Purdue University. He also had attended Wabash College. Joseph was a member of the American Legion and Rotary International. He began his career in insurance at Liberty Mutual and worked for Rollins Burdick Hunter, formerly J.S. Kemper Agency, in Chicago. He was a score volunteer, working as a business counselor and served as president for the Town of Michiana Shores, Ind. Joseph enjoyed golf, carpentry, reading, playing bridge, social dancing, entertaining and attending theater performances.

Joseph is survived by his daughters, Mary Michele of Lake Bluff, Ill., and Annetta Hubata of Waukesha; two grandchildren, Lauren Pyburn of Corvallis, Ore., and David Tobey of Chicago; and one great-granddaughter, Kate Pyburn.

Also surviving are nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 71 years, Joan O’Rear, on May 15, 2013; his parents; one brother, James O’Rear; and a sister, Elizabeth (Edward) O’Rear Skanta.

In accordance with Joseph’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will take place at a later date in Michigan City, Ind.

Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home, Cremation and Pre-Planning Service is serving the family. For further information, please call 542-6609, or for directions, an online obituary, or to leave a condolence, please visit