April 27, 1925 –
Sept. 30, 2011
Joseph Walter Stockemer, 86, of La Crescenta passed away peacefully at home in his sleep on Sept. 30.
Joe was born to Joseph J. and Rose C. Stockemer on April 27, 1925 at their home in Hollywood, Calif. As a child, he was blessed with an incredible voice, which led to his selection as the lead soprano in Bob Mitchell Boys’ Choir. He performed in numerous concerts, Catholic liturgies and on the radio, as well as appearing in 12 motion pictures during the Golden Age of Hollywood, from 1936-1940. At the age of 10, his most memorable appearance was in “Angels with Dirty Faces” starring James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, where he was prominently featured singing a solo.
During this time, he worked with many legendary movie stars including Ginger Rogers and Judy Garland. One of Joe’s fondest movie memories during this time was when, after working together all day on the set, Ginger Rogers was so smitten with him and his voice that she wanted to take him home for dinner. But his favorite memory of all was joking around with Judy Garland on the MGM lot after recording a duet with her.
In 1943, Joe graduated from St. Brendan’s High School in Hollywood where he immediately enlisted in the Navy after graduation. During his service in World War II, he was stationed in the South Pacific on the destroyer USS Stevens where his responsibility was that of a sonar man. He participated in 14 major engagements and was decorated with honors. With a twinkle in his eye, he loved to boast that he had more ribbons than General MacArthur.
Joe met the love of his life, Marilyn Catherine Muller, when they were set up by their mutual dentist and his wife, Dr. and Mrs. “Cupid.” Marilyn was a teacher at Apperson Elementary School in Tujunga.
On Feb. 23, 1957, Joe and Marilyn were married at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church, Joe’s boyhood parish. Champagne, music and laughter flowed so steadily that those in attendance spoke highly of their wondrous time for many years thereafter.
Shortly after their wedding, they purchased a home in La Crescenta and lived there ever since. Joe and Marilyn welcomed three sons: Robert, Joseph and Thomas. Joe worked as an engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory for over 30 years. He worked on various unmanned space projects including the Viking Orbiter.
Joe was a devout Catholic and a founding parishioner of Saint James the Less in La Crescenta until his passing. He sang in the choir, was a Eucharist minister and lector for Sunday masses.
Some of Joe’s favorite recreational activities included fishing, golfing, bowling and music. However, his favorite past time was cruising, a love he shared with his wife and sons. Joe and Marilyn traveled on 18 different cruises to various exotic locations. On their 50th anniversary they renewed their vows while on a cruise to Mexico surrounded by family and friends.
Joe loved social events, especially those with a family focus. Nobody was a stranger to Joe and everyone he came in contact with was always fair game for him to retell one of his stories about fascinating times on Hollywood movie sets or WWII adventures.
Joe is survived by his wife, sons and daughters-in-law Betty Lew and Kimberly, his sisters-in-law Janet Muller and Patricia Hickey, his brother-in-law Joseph Hickey, his nieces Angela Stockemer, Teresa Stockemer, Robin Manson and Shelia Hickey and his nephews David Stockemer, Richard Muller, Steven Muller, Michael Muller, Gregory Hickey and James Hickey.
Joe was preceded in death by his big sister and best friend Helen and his loving big brothers Frank and John.
In lieu of flowers, send donations to Heart Of The Nation www.mysundaymass.org.
A visitation will be held at St. James Catholic Church in La Crescenta on Saturday at 9 a.m. followed by a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills.
Crippen Mortuary Directors