Joseph K. Wetherill: 1917-2012
April 10, 2012
Joseph K. Wetherill
1917 – 2012
Joe Wetherill was a native Kentuckian, born in Carrollton, Ky. on Sept. 24, 1917, to Gladys Langstaff Wetherill and Joseph Henry Wetherill; his sister was Ella Jean Wetherill Murray. Joe graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS in geology, earning his way by playing clarinet and saxophone in dance bands and the UK band. After graduation, Joe served five years in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII as captain in charge of the communications base on Baffin Island in the Arctic.
One summer during college, Joe worked at Yellowstone National Park, where he was leader of the band at Canyon Lodge. There he met Ruth McKay of Savanna, Ill, whom he married on April 6, 1942. Joe and Ruth had a wonderful marriage of 43 years, ending when Ruth passed away in 1984. They made their home from Presque Isle, Maine, to Grand Lake, Colo., raising their three daughters.
Joe enjoyed a 49-year career as a geologist, living 23 years in Tulsa, several years in Radnor, Pa., and in Houston. In the mid-60s they began spending time in Grand Lake, ultimately building their much-loved cabin in Rocky Mountain National Park. While Joe continued as an oil industry consultant, in 1972 he and Ruth finished construction of a book and rock store in Grand Lake. After Ruth’s death, Joe continued to make his home in Grand Lake. His friends encouraged him to take up skiing, and at age 69, he mastered the blue and black slopes at Winter Park.
In 1989, Joe married Pat Randall-Housman, another long-time resident of Grand Lake and they enjoyed 10 years of great happiness before she passed away in 1999. Joe often said how very lucky he was to have had two wonderful wives whom he dearly loved.
Joe is survived by his daughters Ginny Swann of Dallas, Patricia Goode of OKC and Martha Rice (Chris) of Springfield, Mo. He is also survived by three grandchildren, Amy Swann Henning (Bill) of Atlanta, Stephen Joseph Swann (Lauren) of Dallas and Ellen McKay Rice of Springfield, and 6 great-grandchildren – Charlie, Andrew and Katherine Henning, and Stephen, Henry and Charlie Swann. Joe is also survived by Pat’s children -Tim Randall (Marilou) of Grand Lake, Mike Randall (Nancy) of Henderson, Iowa and Dan Randall (Karen) of Kansas City, and grandsons – Patrick, Decker, Bobby and Steve. The love and joy he brought to all is immeasurable.
Joe served for many years as lay reader and chalice bearer in the Episcopal Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (325 E. 1st, Edmond, OK 73034) or to the charity of your choice would be greatly appreciated. There was a celebration of his life on April 9.