Obituaries Archive

Obituaries » Joseph L. Sybert

Check your settings when you are happy with your print preview press the print icon below.

Show Obituaries Show Guestbook Show Photos QR Code Print
August 6, 1950 - March 16, 2023

At Joe’s request, cremation has taken place and there will be no services. Interment at Ft. Custer National Cemetery will take place at a later date. Donations in Joe’s memory may be shared with Calhoun County Animal Center, Inc. or St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Share your Memorial with Family & Friends

Joseph L. Sybert, 72, of Galesburg and formerly of Battle Creek, died with his loving wife by his side on March 16, 2023, after a years-long fight against the aftereffects of radiation treatment for a brain tumor. Joe was born on August 6, 1950, in Decatur, AL. When he was two years old, his family moved to Battle Creek, MI. He attended Battle Creek Public Schools and was an Army veteran.

Joe was a man of many skills as evidenced by his varied careers—Army cook, auto body repair, factory assembly, golf course groundskeeper, bartender, bouncer, carpenter, entrepreneur and his most rewarding career as the Prairieview Elementary custodian for Lakeview Schools.

During his 20-year career at Lakeview he served at both the former Junior High and Prairieview Elementary. Many times over the years, administrators contacted him to come and work in their buildings, but he always said, “I can’t leave my Prairieview kids.” He loved caring for the historic building and for the many children who may remember his stern, but fair, expectations for hallway and playground activity. One look from Mr. Joe would slow a running child down to a walk in just a few seconds. However strict he may have seemed, he cared deeply about the children who attended school there. He loved it when he was out shopping and heard, “Hi Mr. Joe!” from one of his “kids.”

Joe was a guardian and protector; he loved deeply and until his condition confined him to bed, he found ways to help others every day. He was a man of strong convictions and he believed that being of service was his calling. He loved animals and shared many stories of training his beloved Lab, Teddy, who would accompany him on hunting trips. Early in his life he was an adept outdoors man—hunting waterfowl and deer; fishing rivers, lakes and oceans; taking camping trips with friends and family—he found peace in nature.

Joe was a generous person and while at Prairieview he organized a St. Jude’s donation challenge. Each classroom collected change and Joe matched the total amount. St. Jude’s received $1,000 from that challenge event in the name of the school. Having experienced cancer treatments himself, he always said, “No kid should have to go through that, but if they do then St. Jude’s is the place to go.”

Joe loved a good party, he and Mary hosted many family, friends and neighborhood gatherings. Many still remember the famous Tequila Tasting Party; Joe loved to pull out the tequila, lemons and salt when friends visited. He had a quick wit and was in his element when bantering and sharing a laugh with his friends. He also had a penchant for looking good and everyone remembers his colorful Reebok tennis shoes, vests, hats and love of watches.

He also loved to travel and he and Mary enjoyed many road trips and long vacations to Hawaii. Often, he would say, “Let’s just go” and they’d climb in the car, pick a direction and just start driving to explore new places and find fun things to do. One of his fun things was helping as a crew member for a variety of balloon pilots who visited Battle Creek as part of the annual Balloon Festival back in the 80s.

Joe was a car enthusiast and loved his green 1969 Charger from his teen years, both the big Blazer and little Blazer, his black IROC Camaro, and everyone he knew recognized his bright yellow Dodge Dakota truck. Once he was at a stoplight and a State trooper pulled up next to him and indicated that Joe roll down his window. When he did the trooper said, “Hey, nice truck!” And the kids at Prairieview always knew when Mr. Joe was at work because you couldn’t miss that truck.

Joe and Mary met at Pine Knoll Golf course on March 21, 1985, and were married on May 5, 1994 in Greenville, SC. They learned to golf together and enjoyed league play and family golf outings over the years. They also loved fine dining and experienced many delicious meals with friends. They made a wonderful, rich, loving life together and he will be missed.

Joe leaves behind his wife of 29 years, Mary L. Green, and their special little kitty, May, who stayed by his side throughout his illness. He is survived by his daughter, Kelly (Ryan) Kniss, and two grandchildren, Kyran and Kyley Jo of Florida. His sister, Virginia Vaden of Battle Creek; brother, Charles Sybert of Kentucky; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Selma Sybert, and his sister, Peggy Norris. A special thanks to Ross and Kathy Dingwall and Brian and Svenja Langley for their unwavering friendship and his nurses, Amy and Rachel, of Harmony Hospice Cares for their care and comfort during Joe’s last year.

At Joe’s request, cremation has taken place and there will be no services. Interment at Ft. Custer National Cemetery will take place at a later date. Donations in Joe’s memory may be shared with Calhoun County Animal Center, Inc. or St. Jude Children’s Hospital.