Joseph Dennis Harper

Joseph Dennis Harper , of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, passed away March 7, 2020, at the age of 83 years old. After a long battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis. Joe peacefully died at home with his oldest son by his side.

Joseph was born on May 8, 1936 in Woodbury, New Jersey to Suzanna and Joseph Harper. He was a soldier, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and a man who will be remembered for his independent spirit, strength, loyalty, and wit. He will also, be remembered for his Archie Bunker personality!

As a young man, Joe, joined the Air Force, and was stationed in Kincheloe, Michigan, where he met the love of his life, Donelda (Bood) Harper. They were married for over 58 years.

Joe worked as a Dredging Engineer for Local 25 International Operating Engineers for many years.

When Joe retired, he loved spending time with his family and friends. He enjoyed gardening, berry picking, and canning jams and tomatoes. He would plan all winter long what he was going to plant in his garden the following spring. He was a meticulous gardener with a real green thumb. The family always looked forward to his fantastic fruits and vegetables every year.

He is survived by his sons, Joseph Harper Jr., Lawrence (Lyn) Harper; daughters, Donelda (Jerry) Lehman, Vicki Neal-Captain; sister, Patricia (Fred) Jarvis; daughter-in-law, Gail Kott. He was a loving grandfather to Danielle (Todd) Theel, Joe (Kaitlin) Harper, Jared Harper, Jana Johnson, Caleb Captain, Cecilia (Kourtney) Atkinson, Angela (Michael) Daly, Melissa (Richie) Harris, Joe Harper, Justin (Jamey) Lardy, Larisa (TJ) Harig, Christa (Eden) Harper, Tyler Nelson, Misty Harper, Jack Corp and several great-grandchildren. Joe is also, survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Joseph was proceeded in death by his wife, Donelda; his parents, Joseph and Suzanna Harper; sons, Donald Harper, Ronald Harper; daughter-in-law, Kim Harper; sisters, Susan Breslin, Francis Smith; brothers-in-law, Lawrence Bood, James Smith, Thomas Breslin; nephew, Keith Smith; beloved dog, Manville (Manny).

Cremation will take place and a memorial will be held this summer per Joe’s request.

Donations may be left to Joe’s favorite foundation St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

R. Galer Funeral Home in Pickford, Michigan is serving the family. Condolences may be sent to the family at

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