Joe Sidor passed away peacefully at his Touchmark residence on November 4th with his son and daughter by his side during his final days.
Joe was born in Great Falls on March 27th, 1928 to Joseph and Eva Sidor. After several moves in his early years, the family settled in Butte where he graduated from Butte High in 1946.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp in 1946 and, after basic training, was 1 of 2 in his class of 60 to be selected for specialized training in Illinois. He ended his two year enlistment in California as a crew chief on the Corsair airplanes of the famous Black Sheep fighter squadron.
Like a page from a Hollywood script of that era, he fell in love with a young woman that he met at a local ice cream parlor. He began his courtship in an old 1936 Ford clunker that he’d bought on his return from the service. It broke down regularly and, too often, it happened as it was sitting in front of Pat’s parents house. He’d end up walking home and Pat was left to worry about her reputation in the neighborhood. Pat and Joe were married in 1949 and were rarely apart over their next 66 years together.
With little money and a dilapidated old house, they began the long and arduous effort of creating the family home and building a comfortable life wherein their children could thrive.
He and Pat joined St Peter’s Episcopal Church where, over the years, he volunteered for virtually every lay position in the church, including being the superintendent of the church school for 12 years. The set of friends met through the church became their lifelong and closest friends.
His working career began at B.F. Goodrich and Earl Tucker Distributing and ended when he retired after 29 years at I.B.M. Corporation where he was part of the team that managed the company’s largest accounts. After his retirement, he volunteered as a mentor at Central School for 18 years.
Joe loved the enthusiasm of young children and, being a kid at heart, easily joined them in their play whether it was the 20 year age gap of his own children or the 80 year age gap with his great grandchildren. The neighborhood children always enjoyed a visit to the family home at Halloween to see what costume he was wearing and what spooky decorations he had put up that year.
He enjoyed the peace and quiet of fly-fishing on the Little Blackfoot; chasing pheasants and his golden lab under the big skies of the Fairfield bench; a round of golf with friends at the Green Meadow Country Club, and traveling the world with family and friends.
Joe grew up in a family with no money and no car and from this modest beginning came a very modest man. And yet this man, to whom so little had been given in his own early life, gave completely and selflessly of himself his entire adult life. He was devoted to his wife and family and never missed an opportunity to support or spend time with them. It was his fate to begin most of his life’s endeavors from square one; but he always faced that reality head-on and without complaint, and was successful because he was willing to put in whatever work was required to be successful.
At our passing, when the entirety of our lives is distilled down in the parting thoughts of those who loved us and those who only knew us; all would agree that he was a good man. A simple description, yet profound in its many meanings; and ultimately, one of the highest accolades we can be given by those who knew us.
Joe is survived by his son Dan, daughter Nancy (Jim) Mayer, grandchildren Scott Mayer of Portland, Oregon and Katie (Jake) Conver of Billings, great grandsons Caleb and Eli Conver, and his brother Roy of Santa Maria, California. He was preceded in death by his mother and wife.
A church service will be held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Cathedral, 511 N. Park Ave., on Friday, November 15th at 11:00 AM with a reception to follow in the church parish hall. In lieu of flowers, memorials are encouraged to be made in Joe’s name to the Helena Food Share – Kid Pack program at P.O. Box 943, Helena, 59624-0943 or to the charity of your choice.
Please visit below to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Joe.