Joe Blanco Sr


A Celebration of Life for 99-year old Joe Blanco Sr will be held Friday, May 12, 2023, at 10:00 at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chadron.

Rosary will be held Thursday, May 11, at 7:00, also at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chadron.

Online condolences may be left at

Joe Blanco Sr was born in 1923 in Craig, CA, to Heraldo Blanco and Andrea Rojas Blanco. He died May 6, 2023.

The family migrated to Nebraska in 1930 after his dad passed away when he was between ages 6 and 7. His Mother had 9 kids and lived on the farm and worked as crop workers. 

They did hard labor, with all harvesting done by hand. That was part of what made Joe so tough, Hang Tuff as they called him. He started going to school at about 7 years old, but at age 10 his parents pulled him out to work in the fields. 

Joe became the head of the household in 1942 at age 19 and supported his mother and siblings. He was drafted into the Army that same year and when he would write home, he would send his allowance and include money to help provide for school for the children.

After boot camp, Joe was sent to Great Plains, MN, to train for the invasion of Europe and shipped out to England after 6 months. More training followed until the invasion finally happened.

Joe was part of the fighting in Normandy and the advance that liberated France and pushed the enemy back across the Rhine River into Germany.

Joe kept fighting and serving as an MP through the end of the war. He was discharged on Dec 7, 1945 – 4 years to the day after Pearl Harbor – and returned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

While serving the ETO, European Theater of Operations from 1943-45, Joe was awarded an ETO Ribbon, won 5 major battle stars, a Defense Ribbon, US Service Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, a Victory Ribbon for Occupation, and an Enemy Clip for Germany Occupation with a Germany Clip

After returning to the Panhandle, Joe was in construction, worked at the sugar factory, and worked for Lockwood’s as well before going into roofing. Joe roofed for Vaughn Peters until Vaughn passed away, then worked for Weathercraft until he retired in his 80s.  

He said he really felt good all through his working career, but that when he retired everything caught up to him, especially his PTSD from the war. Joe said he just couldn’t get used to not working. 

Mr Joe Blanco led a beautiful wonder-filled life for 99 years, a loving life with his wife Rose and their many loving children. He was very proud of his kids and grandkids and great-grandkids.

Joe loved his sports and taught himself to read – then read the Star Herald newspaper daily. He loved his Las Vegas Raiders as well. 

Joe is survived by his wife Rosemarie, son Virgil Smyres (Michele Litke), daughter Jessica (Travis) Turner, daughter Tonia (Mark) Buss, daughter Sandy Blanco-Anderson (Greg), Debora Blanco, Rita Blanco, Micheal Joseph (Crystal) Vaughn, Kimberly (Bill) Snyder, Lupe (Keith) Saathoff, 25 grandkids, 28 great-grandkids, 5 great-great-grandkids, and many nieces and nephews. 

Joe was preceded in death by siblings Jerry Blanco, Cruz Blanco, Honda Deollas, Salome Blanco, Merced Blanco, Lupe Blanco. Children Richard Blanco, Jolene K Blanco, Joe Blanco Jr. 

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