Joe Papez

Aug. 29, 1923 to Nov. 1, 2013 -


Longtime Lake Oswego resident Joe Papez died Nov. 1, 2013 at the age of 90.

He was the first child born in the United States of Slovenian immigrants, John and Mary Papez. Older siblings John and Mary were born in Slovenia.

Joe attended primary school at St. John’s in Oregon City and then graduated from West Linn High School in 1941. After high school he worked for Hawley Pulp and Paper until 1943, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army during WWII. Joe served from February 1943 until November 1945 as an anti-aircraft gunner in field artillery. He was in charge of a crew of 15 men, none of which were lost during the war. Joe served in combat in the European Theater, Normandy on D-Day, Northern France, and the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge, Rhineland and Central Europe. He received the European, African, Middle Eastern service medals, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Service Medal and Victory Medal.

Upon returning from the war, Joe and his brother Willie opened Oswego Cab. Will stayed about a year and then Joe took over as sole owner. Joe met wife Norma in his cab and made a bet of who would marry first. They married Sept. 6, 1950. From their marriage on they ran the business, Joe driving and Norma raising children, Nan and Jay, as well as answering the phone. Joe’s first phone location was on the corner of State and A with phone on a pole and car parked in a marked area. As time went on the base became Ozzie’s Shell Station on State and B. After Ozzie past away, Joe moved to L.O. Texaco. Later he had actual offices in various locations to support radios in cabs as business grew. During his business years, Joe and Norma supported men’s softball and basketball teams. They never missed a game or tournament and were generous with players. Over the years they won several city championships and Joe proudly displayed trophies in his office.

In June 2001, shortly before his 79th birthday, Joe sold L.O. Cab. During his 55 years in business, Joe became well known for quality service and going the extra mile for folks. He was a man with a huge heart and smile on his face, mild mannered, just going about his business. His word and handshake was enough.

In retirement, he and Norma were devoted to family. They both cherished time spent helping raise their grandson Jeff, working in the yard and house they lived in since marriage in First Addition, and where he passed away.

Joe is survived by Norma, his wife of 63 years; children Nan Papez DeWitt (Mark) of Lake Oswego, son Jay Papez (Lynn) of Portland; grandchildren Jeff DeWitt and Jamie Kraljev (Nick) and great-grandson, Cash; sisters Veronica Peters (Vern) of West Linn, Dorothy Shick (Richard) of Sherwood, nephew Loran Steinberg and brother-in-law, Todd Berlant and many nieces and nephews.

Joe will be interred at Oswego Pioneer Cemetery. Per request there will not be a formal service. Instead of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Angels in the Outfield for at-risk children, PO Box 2347, Oregon City, OR 97045, or a charity of your choice. Joe felt saving a child saves our future.

The family plans a memorial at Chuck’s Coffee Shop to be announced in January. Arrangements entrusted to Hillside Chapel in Oregon City.