In Memory of



Obituary for Richard Joseph

Richard H. “Papa Joe” Joseph, 93, of Benton Harbor, passed away at his home on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

A memorial graveside service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Caring Circle or American Legion Post 105. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at

Richard was born on June 10, 1926, to Edward & Hortense (Vinez) Joseph, in Cuyahoga, OH. He joined the U.S. Navy on October 19, 1943 and proudly served his country as an Aviation Machinist for three years before being honorably discharged in June of 1946. After the service, Richard went to work for Railway Express as a Railway Machinist for over 16 years and was transferred to Benton Harbor in 1948. When Railway Express went out of business, he then worked as a Lieutenant for Benton Township Fire Department for more than 20 years before his retirement in 1980. Richard then moved to Florida where he and his best friend Dave Brady formed a close bond and had a business building carports and screen rooms. Due to declining health, Richard moved back home to Benton Harbor in 2012. On his 90th birthday, he earned his high school diploma from Benton Harbor High School and walked with the class of 2017. Richard was a proud member of American legion post 105.

Richard leaves to cherish his memory, his wife of 44 years, Barbara Joseph of Benton Harbor; children, Edwin Joseph of Benton Harbor, Linda (Steve) Knuth of Benton Harbor, June Heyn of Grand Rapids; Beverly Kotyuk of Grand Rapids, Rebecca Reeves of Watervliet, Elizabeth (Edward) Joseph-Mohr of California, Thomas (Kelly) Joseph of Benton Harbor and Jeffrey (Bonnie) Joseph of Coloma; 16 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

Papa Joe had many close friends, especially Dave and Debby Brady, Siegfried and Linda Frietag, David & Linda Arndt. His wonderful and caring sister and brother-in-law Robert & Deborah Appelget, two loving nephews Joe and Dan Appelget and many more nieces and nephews.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Edward & Hortense Joseph and two brothers.