Joseph W. (Joe) House

Published 4:11 pm Friday, April 26, 2013

Joseph W.  (Joe) House, 98, of Tryon Estates, Columbus, died Thursday, April 25, at Hospice House in Landrum. 042913-Obit_House

He was born Nov. 17, 1914 in Pittsburgh, Pa., the son and only child of the late Elbert and Bessie Wright House.

He attended Rogers Grade School and Peabody High School, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Tech. At the same time he received his commission in the Army Reserve. He first worked for P.H. Murphy Co. (later StanRay), maker of railway freight car roofs. On June 10, 1940, he married Ruth (Susie) Menk.

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In 1942 he was called to active duty as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served in several capacities at camps in the United States before being sent overseas to England and France in December 1944. While in charge of stock records in Laon, France, Joe was proud to have filled a trainload of supplies for Gen. George Patton. After the war, he took a job with Amoco Oil Co. as an associate engineer and first worked in Whiting, Ind., and later in Chicago.

He retired in 1978 and he and Susie moved to Polk County, where he was active in helping build sets for the Tryon Little Theater. He and Susie joined the Tryon Presbyterian Church and the Tryon Country Club and became active as volunteers for Hospice.

In appreciation for his volunteer work, he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by the governor of North Carolina. They also did a lot of traveling. Joe was an avid genealogist. He researched and wrote three books: History of the House Family, History of the Wright Family, and his own autobiography, which he titled “This Old House.” He had the books printed and copies were given to each of his children and grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Susie, who died March 24, 2011, and a daughter, Susan Elaine, who died July 2, 1950. Survivors include four sons: Richard (Fran) of Wallingford, Pa.; David (Nancy) of South Bend, Ind.; John (Martine) of Columbus; and Paul (Ellen) of Lafayette, Ind.; a daughter, Judy Lanier of Tryon; 14 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

A private family memorial service will be held at a later date.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, 130 Forest Glen Dr., Columbus, N.C. 28722.

An online guest register is available at