GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE Friday, December 7, 2007


O'Leary, Joseph James Great Falls resident and military veteran Joseph James O'Leary, 84, died of natural causes Nov. 27 at his home in Orofino, Idaho.
Services took place Dec. 1 at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Orofino.
Joe is survived by his wife, Floris, of Orofino; sons Jim (Vicki) O'Leary of Orofino, Dennis (Sue) O'Leary and Paul (Vickie) O'Leary of Great Falls, Mike (Jean) O'Leary of Santa Clara, Calif., and Tom (Taleen) O'Leary of Highwood, Mont.; daughters JoAnn (Tom) Matsko of Great Falls and Marie Jacobs and Eileen (John) Bobich of Redding, Calif.; 30 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his father, Patrick Francis O'Leary; his mother, Mary Frances (Ryan) O'Leary; and a sister, Maureen Matthews.
Joe was born Oct. 26, 1923, in San Francisco, to Patrick and Mary (Ryan) O'Leary. He proudly served his country as a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1942-1945, then again with the U.S. Air Force Reserves from 1950-1953 during the Korean War, as a member of the Air Rescue Squadron stationed in Alaska.
He married Floris Gregory on Sept. 21, 1946. In 1948, he graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in business.
He worked for the Fire Rating Bureau in San Francisco and was transferred to Butte, Mont., in 1958. He relocated his growing family to Great Falls, Mont., in 1962. He spent many days traveling across the states of Idaho and Montana in his job as manager until his retirement in the mid-1980s. While in Montana, he worked on the Boy Scouts Camping Committee.
In 1987, Joe and Floris moved to Redding, Calif., where he was actively involved in Our Lady of Mercy Church, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, Lifeline, was division captain of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and any other service he had time to do.
In 2004, they moved to Orofino, Idaho, where they resided in a house built by their children and grandchildren. He became a member of St. Theresa's Church and continued his membership in the Knights of Columbus.
Throughout his long life, he was always involved in service to others, giving his time whenever he could. He left to his children and grandchildren a legacy of volunteerism, a good work ethic and strong spiritual faith.
He loved his wife and family, God, our country, the great outdoors, the "beloved Raiders," the annual family campouts at Holland Lake, oatmeal cookies, getting to know his grandchildren, telling tall tales, growing trees and flowers, fishing and "John St. Wayne."
His beautiful, kind and gentle spirit will be with us forever.
Memorial donations are suggested to Mercy Hospice, 1544 Market St., Redding, CA 96001.
Condolences may be posted online at

Published in the Great Falls Tribune on 12/7/2007.