Joseph Stanley Eaton born April 3, 1921 passed March 3, 2020.
A fitting description of Joe is "he lived life to the fullest!" Joe always enjoyed driving around the nation and especially around his community. If you rode with him he would tell you about the home where he was born on highway 91 and county line road on the way to Idaho Falls and all the homes his family lived in around Shelley. He remembers riding in horse and buggy and horse drawn sleigh to school, church and work. Joe remembers Main Street of Shelley before it was paved. He talked often of his dad’s truck and hauling wool out of Bone, Idaho and half sacks of spuds to the spud houses. He had fond memories of fishing the Coffee Pot Rapids in Island Park with his brothers Bus and Bill.
He married Bonita Wright early in his life and they had 2 children, Ron and Teddy. Teddy died as an infant. Joe served his country in the Army and returned home from the war serving in Philippines and Japan with a boat load of 70 other men with Dear Johns, one of the heartbreaks of the war! Later in life he spoke of how enjoyed his time in the war abroad, how it grew him up and shared with all the Japanese language he learned, and his love for the Japanese people.
After returning from the war he married Sharlene Mae Smith on February 4, 1948 in the Idaho Falls Temple, then beginning their family of nine children. He started his career in Jackson Wyoming working and learning Autobody repair. Returning to Shelley Joe and his 2 brothers Bus and Bill partnered in a body shop/mechanic shop they ran until retirement. Joe had a special bond with Bus and Bill as they built a stock car (#4) in the late 50's. Joe was the driver, Bus and Bill the mechanics which in time advanced each of their skills to be very valuable. Their success led to many trophies, never revealing the tricks to their success! A few things ended the stock car career including Joe rolling his car 8 times, his safety belt breaking yielding him unconscious for 3 days. His stock car days were over because Sharlene needed him to raise his 9 children.
Along with the body shop Joe moved his family to a 40 acre farm-ranch east of Shelley where he continued teaching his children the value of hard work. He raised horses and cows and a brief stint of a 100 pigs. On many Wednesday's, Friday's and Saturday nights you could find him with the Marvin Nielsen Orchestra playing the guitar as the lead singer where he developed many friendships! Joe and a few of his buddies dreams were to have a cattle ranch taking them in search from Salmon, Lava Hot Springs even to Canada to look at homesteading 40 acres. He and his friends and family ended up staying in Jameston enjoying the little farm, the large Jameston Ward where Joe held several calling supporting his kids in sports, horse riding trips to the upper Palisades, Beckler Meadows, the Chief Joe ride and many others as he also participated with family and friends riding with the Shelley Russets Posse. We wonder how he gained so many friends!
Later in life Joe learned that being in Hiroshima 2 weeks after the bomb was dropped burned his skin especially on his face causing many uncomfortable days especially after being in the sun. It eventually forced Jo into early retirement from the body shop around chemicals. Joe decided to take the remaining family still living at home and moved to the Coltman area north of Idaho Falls and expand his farming and purchase a new spud truck driving alongside his Brother Bill. Joe’s family quickly fit into the community making many new friends and his younger children finishing in the Bonneville schools. It was not uncommon to see many of Joe’s grandchildren at his side in the spud trucks. As Joe's career slowed from age he continued his love for cars at the auto auctions, rebuilding cars, pickups and trucks in his son Rich's body shop and traveling the nation bringing home damaged vehicles for restoration. One of his favorite trips was to Kentucky after a couple of pickups and seeing the beautiful green ranches with white fences.
Joe could be seen for many years ahead of the Shelley Spud Day Parade as Uncle Sam. It was a difficult time when Joe realized his balance for riding a horse had come to an end. For many of his elderly years Joe could be seen driving the streets of Shelley and the country side to see the horses at his friend Doctor Cannon and let his dog run around. It was a difficult time again to realize his age was making it difficult to drive. The last year or so of Joe and his sweet wife Sharleen’s life were spent together in Fairwinds assisted living in Idaho falls.
Funeral services will be at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, March 7, 2020 at the Shelley Eighth Ward Chapel (184 North Park Ave). The family will receive friends on Friday evening from 6:00 to 7:30 P.M. at Nalder Funeral Home, (110 West Oak) in Shelley and Saturday morning from 10:00 till 10:40 AM at the church. Burial will be in the Shelley Hillcrest Cemetery with military rites.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the tunnel2towers.org.