He went to the California Conservation Corps as a teenager, where he learned to work sheet metal.
When WWII broke out, his boss wouldn’t let him enlist because his trade was too vital to the war effort.
He agitated, threatened to quit, and finally was allowed to enlist in the Navy.
He was very proud of having served as a machinist on the ARD Nine, a floating dry dock for damaged ships in the Pacific theater.
He was home on medical leave with a ruptured appendix, when he saw a beautiful young woman going to church with her two little girls who had bouncing curls.
Their love and marriage lasted 63 years.
He was recalled to duty for the Korean Conflict and then became a civil servant at Norton AFB in San Bernardino, CA.
After their girls were married, Joe and his wife traveled the country, while he was employed building missile silos across the northern states.
When the last silo was built the program was obsolete, so the couple returned to California.
He was employed at Edwards Air Force Base, where he had the opportunity to work on the Space Shuttles.
He was so excited to see every landing, that he would exhort the family to come to Lancaster, CA, to watch.
After his retirement, he and his wife settled in Spokane, WA, where they kept a lake front, vacation home they enjoyed for 50 years.
He and his wife enjoyed ballroom dancing and danced together into their sunset years.
He is survived by his loving wife, Mary; his second daughter, Carol Chavira (Jim Duponte); son, Ronald Nordstrom (Julia); grandchildren Beverly Grow (Wallace Boring), Terra Grow, Laura Fontan, Genevieve Fontan, Charlotte Nichols (Brandon), and Stevie Nordstrom; four great-grandsons, four great-great-grandsons and one great-great- granddaughter.
He also leaves his sisters, Helen Quesada (Albert), Carmen Rodriguez, Mary Herrera, Elicia Herrera, and several nieces and nephews.
He is predeceased by his eldest daughter Olivia Carter.
Funeral arrangements are made with Salas Brothers Funeral Chapel, 419 Scenic Dr., Modesto, CA, where visitation will be held Tuesday, December 3, at 4pm to 8pm.
A Rosary will be held at 6 pm.
A Requiem Mass will be held at St. Joseph’s Church, 1813 Oakdale Rd., Modesto, CA at 9:30am, Wednesday, December 4.
Interment, with Military Honors, to follow at San Joaquin National Cemetery 32053 McCabe Rd., Santa Nella Village, CA at 1:30 pm.
Remembrances can be made to Alexander Cohen Hospice House, Hughson, CA.