Joel F. Waldo, 45, of Baker City, died Oct. 22, 2004, at his home with his devoted wife, Cindy, his mother-in-law, Phyllis, and his minister by his side.
He was diagnosed with lung cancer on Oct. 16, 2003, even though he had never smoked a day in his life.
His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 1995 Fourth St. Pastor Susan Barnes will officiate.
Joel was born on Aug. 19, 1959, at Sioux City, Iowa. He worked very hard all his life and was constantly learning new things so he could do it himself.
Joel received his bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Nebraska in Omaha in August 1985. Joel put himself through graduate school with Cindy by his side, encouraging him always.
Joel received a master’s in wildlife management from Southwest Texas State University at San Marcos, Texas, in December 1988.
While in Texas, Joel conducted a research project to determine if horizontal polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of dried whole blood evidence could be used as a law enforcement tool in the identification of big game species. This was adopted by Texas Parks and Wildlife to help them with game-law violators.
Joel married Cindy Wichman on June 17, 1989, at Council Bluffs, Iowa. They had dated for 7 years. Joel and Cindy had known each other for more than half their lives.
They were true soul mates, which many friends attest to; they were devoted to each other, best friends, and each other’s support system. Joel had his first career position after obtaining his master’s degree with California Fish and Game at Mount Shasta, Calif.
In March 1990, Joel started working for the Forest Service at Eugene. His career as a fisheries and wildlife biologist took him and Cindy across Oregon.
After Eugene, they moved to John Day in April 1992, and then to Baker City in 1998 where they purchased their first home. Joel received many awards for his work.
He was very proud of his achievements as a biologist in preserving habitat and having a long-term effect on the land. Joel believed in working together with everyone involved whether they were Forest Service, logging, or the ranching community. Joel truly loved Baker City and felt this was home.
Joel became a Christian in January 2004 while in the depths of chemotherapy. He told people he was stripped raw with chemo and through reading “The Case for Faith” and “The Case for Christ,” both by Lee Strobel, he was ready to accept Christianity.
Joel said both these books were very profound and were the scientific proof he needed. Joel and Cindy joined the First Presbyterian Church on July 25, 2004.
When a friend asked Joel if he had to do it all over again would he have cancer he replied yes, because otherwise he would not have become a Christian. Joel stressed to others to have compassion for your fellow man, to love yourself, and to be tolerant and forgiving of others.
Joel possessed the great ability to teach and share with others his spirituality; he touched the lives of so many people.
Joel loved nature photography, working in his yard, spending time with good friends, and all types of sports, especially Notre Dame and Nebraska college football games. He most enjoyed staying at home with Cindy and a few friends.
He was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Darold O. Wichman.
Survivors include his wife, Cindy A. Waldo; his parents, Jackie and Robert Waldo, of Omaha, Neb.; siblings: Bob, and his wife, Marcia, and son, Christian; Cary and his children, Sidney, Emily, and Jack; John; and Kim Broyles and her husband, Rich, and son Matt, all of Omaha, Neb.; mother in-law, Phyllis Wichman of Council Bluffs, Iowa; brother-in-law, Mark Wichman and his wife, April, and their sons Connor and Seth; sister-in-law, Lisa Keathley, and her husband, Tom, also all of Omaha, Neb.; and many relatives and a host of dear friends.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or the First Presbyterian Church through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, October 29, 2004
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor