Joe started his schooling in a One-Room School House before attending Belmont High School, where he graduated in 1954. During his school years, Joe was active in extracurricular activities, especially the Boy Scouts; where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout with a Bronze Palm, the Scouter's Key, the God and Country Award, and was inducted into the Order of the Arrow. Upon graduating, he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served four years of active duty and four years in the reserves. While enlisted, he maintained his passion for singing by performing in several churches, clubs, and productions, including three lead roles in Gilbert & Sullivan Operas with the Orlando, FL Symphony Orchestra. He also traveled with the Air Force's “The Flight in Blue” Entertainment Group. After his time in the air force, Joe went to work in the Parts Marketing Department of Worthington Corporation in Wellsville and later the Purchasing Department. Ultimately, he worked for Dresser-Rand for thirty-one years. While working for Dresser-Rand he joined the Navy Reserve in Hornell, and then transferred to the Army Reserve in Wayland, keeping the rank of Staff Sargent (E6) which he had attained from his time in the Air Force. Joe attended Drill Instructor School, where he graduated with honors and was first and oldest in his class, meaning a promotion to Sargent First Class (E7). He was a Drill Sargent for twelve years. His final promotion was to Master Sargent (E8), upon retirement from the Academy, he had served in the Armed Forces a total of 30 years, both active duty and reserve. Outside of his very active careers, he enjoyed hunting, having been to ten different states, Mexico, Canada, and two trips to Africa, to do so. He was a cook at Wellspring Ministry, a Bass singer for the Genesee Valley Chorus, a member of the American Legion posts #702 and #808, the Belmont Rotary Club, The Players, a former member of the Amity Rescue Squad, and he performed in the Wellsville Lion's Club Minstrel Show several times.
Overall, Joe considered himself to have had “a pretty darn good life”. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend who will be dearly missed.
In addition to his wife, Laurie Zema-Mead, Joe is survived by: two sons, Dwayne “Pete” Mead of Belmont, and Michael (Gaye Lea) A.E. Mead of Apopka, FL; a sister, Carol Ann “Sis” Mead of Scio; a mother-in-law Pamela Zema of Hornell; brothers and sisters-in-law, Linda (Fred) Zema-Cagnetto of Goshen, NY, Christopher (Lisa) Zema of St Petersburg, FL, Paul Zema of Nassau, NY and Rosemary (Jason) Waddle, of North Port, FL; five grandchildren, Christina Morris, Lauren Sizemore, Jessica Catapano, Shane Mead, and Sean Mead; three great-grandchildren, Kora Morris, Jeremiah Morris, and Ashley Sizemore; and his best K-9 riding buddy, “Bro Bro”. He was predeceased by a son, Joseph Lynn Mead Jr. on November 8, 2012.
Friends are invited to call Thursday, May 27, 2021 from 6-8 PM and Friday, May 28, from 12-2 PM at the Belmont United Methodist Church, 7 Park Circle. The funeral will follow visitation Friday at 2PM. Interment with full military honors will be in Forest Hills Cemetery. Please consider memorial donations to the SPCA Serving Allegany County, American Legion Post 808, Belmont, or the Amity Rescue Squad. To leave online condolences, please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.