by Jim Houck, Jr.



joseh joy_2Born in 1927, at home in Emmitsburg to Gertrude and Hubert Joy, was a baby boy they named Joseph (Joe). Joe was one of eleven children: Bobby, Johnny, Kenny, Donald, Mike, Gloria, Patrick, Delores, Jerry, and Rosemary (passed away at three days old). Joe went to school at Saint Euphemia’s in Emmitsburg; he quit school at the age of fifteen and moved to Baltimore, Maryland. He went to work as a painter’s helper at S&A Williams, a painting contractor. He worked for them for about five years, when he decided to go work for his father, who went into business for himself. Joe liked to hunt and would make trips to Emmitsburg, where he would hunt rabbits, pheasants, and squirrel. He said he was not much of a deer hunter and has never killed one. He said he remembers his first automobile was a 1950 Pontiac. He stated that he doesn’t know how many cars he has had, but he’s still driving the one he bought in 1992, and at his present age of eighty-eight, he plans on driving as long as he is able.

Joe was drafted for the army in 1951 at the age of twenty-four. He was sent to Fort Ord Army Base in California within a couple of days after reporting to Camp Meade. He said it was a long ride, and refers to it as a slow boat to China. He was sent to Camp Cook, a couple hundred miles down the road, after his basic training at Fort Ord and spent an entire year in California. He then received orders that he was being shipped overseas from fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He was in New Jersey for three or four days before being put on a ship to Bremerhaven, Germany. Joe said he was asked where he would like to go in Germany, and he said Berlin because his brother was stationed there. They then explained to Joe that they don’t just send someone where they want to go, but just thought they would ask. Then they further explained that they were already planning to send some men to Berlin, so Joe was sent there. He was sent to Berlin for a year; in 1953, his time was up.

Joe was a tower guard for a month at Spandau Prison, where World War II war criminals, Albert Speer, Erich Raeder, Karl Donitz, and Rudolf Hess, were held. While in the tower, He said he saw the prisoners walking around in the yard when they were exercising, but they had German speaking guards that were inside with them. There were seven towers where they watched to prevent escapes from happening. Joe said they had spotlights at night that kept the walls and grounds lit up so they could see all movement. They also did a roving patrol to check the wall; Joe said he did not like that duty. Even though there was no war on, there was always the chance of being mistaken for a prisoner and being shot. Joe was fortunate enough to see his brother (Kenny) while in Berlin, and was very glad they found each other four thousand miles from home.

The prison was torn down in 1987, after the last prisoner, Rudolf Hess, died, so as not to become a shrine for Neo-Nazi’s. It was later rebuilt as a shopping center.

Joe came back to Baltimore after being honorably discharged from the army, and he went back to work painting for his father.

joseh joy_0001-1Joe met Betty Ruth Luster, who lived across the street from where he was residing in Baltimore, and they later were married. Betty and Joe had three children: two girls and one boy—Karen, Kathy, and Steve. They raised their family in southwest Baltimore, close to St. Agnes Hospital. Betty passed away at the age of seventy-three from cancer while they were living in a basement apartment at their daughter’s house. Their daughter was a nurse and was helping to take care of Betty. Joe’s daughter was murdered by a male friend of hers, and Betty died about three months later. The house was sold, and Joe went to live with his son, Steve, for three months; Steve’s house wasn’t large enough to accommodate everyone. Joe has resided (for the past six years) in that area at an apartment complex run by Catholic charities, called DePaul House.

When Joe was young, he was an amateur boxer, with the nickname of “Canvas Kid.” He said he had ten fights and won half of them boxing at the YMCA. He played for the town baseball team of Emmitsburg. But the sport that he was really good at and stuck with was duckpin bowling. Joe bowled on a bowling league for eighteen years, and carried a high average for duckpin bowling. He said he taught his son, Steve, to bowl duckpins, and Steve carried a higher average than Joe. Joe said he bowled for over forty years all together, including ten years for the American Legion in Baltimore.

I received a phone call from Gloria Joy Bauerline one evening telling me her brother Joe was going to be in town for the VFW meeting, being held at Kump’s Dam Park (owned by VFW Post 6658 ). She asked me if I would like to talk to him and interview him. I did not hesitate, and told her I would be honored to both talk to and interview him.

I am so glad that Gloria called me. I found him to be a very interesting man, and I enjoyed every minute of my interview with him. Thank you, Gloria, and thank you, Joe. I am so proud to have met you.

God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the United States Veteran, and God Bless You.

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