About JOE WETHERBEE 1920-2009

Joe’s art was unique, as was he. All of his work – his style – reflected his personal qualities: gentility, creativity, originality, warmth, and humor.

Joe was the adopted son of the Stanley Wetherbee's of Waupaca, Wisconsin.  He graduated from Waupaca High School in the class of 1939. He was active in drama, usually playing the part of the villain, and was a cheerleader. Joe was very popular, being crowned Prom King his junior year.

Joe Wetherbee as a ladThere was no art taught in high school so Joe spent many hours in the public library drawing and reading about art and artists.  It was in high school that he met Betty Cornwell who was to become his wife four years later in 1943. 

Soon after graduation from high School Joe enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he flew 32 missions in the North Africa campaign as top-turret gunner on B-25 bombers. After his discharge from the military, Joe and Betty moved  to Chicago where, by taking advantage of the G.I. Bill and Betty's working, Joe enrolled at the University of Chicago and the School of Art Institute of Chicago, from which he earned a Bachelor of Art Education degree. (During Christmas breaks Joe worked at Marshall Fields in the men's pajama department.) 

They then moved to Colorado where they had lived for a year during WWII, and Joe registered at  the University of Denver, from which he earned his Master of Arts degree. He entered the teaching field in 1950 when he established the first art department at Wheatridge High School, Wheatridge, Colorado.  He remained there for 33 years – retiring in 1983. 

In 2006, Joe and Betty moved back to Wisconsin -- their roots -- where after a short illness, Joe died on January 8th, 2009.  Following a private memorial service for family and close friends, his cremains were interred in a family plot in a little country cemetery on one of Wisconsin’s beautiful back roads.

Joe Wetherbee, One of the Greatest Generation - Uncle Toadee's Doodles

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Joe Wetherbee, One of the Greatest Generation - Uncle Toadee's Doodles

Joe Wetherbee, One of the Greatest Generation - Uncle Toadee's Doodles

Joe Wetherbee, One of the Greatest Generation - Uncle Toadee's Doodles

 Joe Wetherbee, One of the Greatest Generation - Uncle Toadee's Doodles

Joe Wetherbee, One of the Greatest Generation - Uncle Toadee's Doodles

 Joe and Betty 1942

Joe and Betty 1942

 Joe and Betty Wetherbee

Joe and Betty Wetherbee 1943

 Joe & Betty 1942

Joe & Betty 1942

 Joe and Betty at Bismark Hotel, Chicago

Joe and Betty at Bismark Hotel, Chicago

Joe and Betty Wetherbee on the Queen Mary

Joe and Betty Wetherbee on the Queen Mary 1954, first trip to Europe

 Joe and Betty Wetherbee Fiftieth wedding anniversary

Joe and Betty Wetherbee Fiftieth wedding anniversary

 Betty and Joe Wetherbee at their 50th with Annette and Michael Burns

Betty and Joe Wetherbee at their 50th with Annette and Michael Burns

Joe and Betty Wetherbee Fiftieth wedding anniversary

Joe and Betty Wetherbee Fiftieth wedding anniversary

Fellow Teachers with Joe

Fellow Teachers at Joe & Betty's 50th Anniversary
From left: Jim Borneman; Kim Mehlbach; Lon Seymour; Joe Wetherbee;
Barbara Pearse;  Pat Pollard; Erick Johnson; Charles Manis; & Harold Crimmins

Betty and Joe with Betty Fillin

50th Wedding Anniversary. Betty was traveling around the world regularly at that time, while Joe stayed home.  Using a wig, one of her hats and her wedding dress, Betty created a "fill-in" for Joe when she traveled. 

Joe Dancing with Betty II at 50th wedding anniversary

Joe dancing with Betty Fill-In at 50th wedding aniversary.

 Christmas 2005

Christmas 2005

Joe Wetherbee and Annette Burns
Joe Wetherbee and Annette Burns

 Joe & Betty Wetherbee at Betty's 80th Birthday Party at the Blue House

Joe & Betty Wetherbee at Betty's 80th Birthday Party at the Blue House

Joe and Betty Austria Trip

Joe and Betty cooling off in Vail for the Music Festival in 2006

 Joe and Betty with good friend, Dan Sears

Joe & Betty Wetherbee with good friend Dan Sears, Christmas 1998

Hat Party -- Everyone has to wear a hat -- of course, it should be outrageous .

Hat Party -- Everyone has to wear a hat -- of course, it should be outrageous.
Joe Wetherbee, Mel and Bonnie Schwartz

 Betty and Joe at Hat Party

Betty and Joe addressing Hat Party

Hat Party -- Everyone has to wear a hat -- of course, it should be outrageous .

Hat Party -- Christine Dougherty, Joe Wetherbee, & Phyllis Dougherty

 Joe and Betty at Keystone, Colorado in Aug of 1994

Joe and Betty at Keystone, Colorado in Aug of 1994

Joe and Betty with Waupaca Family

Joe and Betty with Waupaca Family

 Joe and Betty at Home

Joe and Betty at brother Clyde and JoAnn Wetherbee's home in Waupaca

 Waupaca Canoe Outing 1978 -- Think River Canoe Doodle

Waupaca Canoe Outing w/ family 1978 -- Waupaca River

Waupaca Family

Clyde and JoAnn Wetherbee's Waupaca Family

 

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