On September 2, 2021, Joe Zubillaga finished his journey on earth and entered into eternal rest in the loving arms of Jesus, his Lord and Savior.
Joe grew up in New York City and then moved with his family to Puerto Rico when he was 12 years old. He graduated from San Carlos de Borromeo Catholic High School in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Joe loved education; so much so that he obtained 2 Bachelors Degrees and 2 Masters Degrees and had pursued a PHD and theological degree during his lifetime. In his mid 20's, he volunteered to serve in Viet Nam. He entered as an officer and served one year in country prior to serving for 10 consecutive years as a civilian for the Army in Germany. Upon his return to the US, he served as an Education Specialist first at Ft Gordon, Georgia and then at the Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina.
In 2001, he met the love of his life, Caroline Zeitler, on Match.com and they considered themselves to be pioneers in the On-Line dating world. They were married in 2001 in Columbia, SC, honeymooned in Kellogg, ID and settled in Johnston, SC. In 2004, they moved to the Silver Valley in Idaho where Caroline resides to this day.
During his life, Joe considered service to others his highest calling. He was an active member of the Elks, VFW, and the Knights of Columbus most of his life. Due to his exposure to Agent Orange in Viet Nam, he was ill during the last years of his life. However, he was extremely proud of his service there and nothing made him more delighted than a random stranger thanking him for his service. He taught Caroline forgiveness and generosity and the joy of anonymously providing a meal for a random family in a restaurant.
He had a wonderful sense of humor and delighted in spending time with his wife; whether it was touring Air and Space Museums, holding hands at the movies, dining in his favorite restaurants, listening to Caroline read to him his favorite genre of books, or worshipping the Lord in song and prayer; nothing pleased them more than being together.
In July, Joe and Caroline celebrated 20 years together, and he was so pleased and thankful for the many who gathered and shared in their joy.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Jose and Emerita Zubillaga, his father-in-law, Richard Zeitler Sr., his mother-in-law Elizabeth Tainter, and his sisters-in-law, Juliet Zeitler and Penny Zeitler. He is survived by his wife, Caroline Zubillaga, his sister, Vanessa (Shawn) Cope of Pahrump, Nevada, mother-in-law, Viola Olson of Rochester, Minnesota and his special brother in arms, Nuel (Dona) Wallace of Kellogg, ID. He is survived by brothers-in-law, Thomas (Betty) Zeitler, Richard (Janet) Zeitler, Harry Zeitler, and Charles Till. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, JoAnne Till and Nancy Dail. Additionally, he has many neices, nephews, and friends who loved and cared for him; chief among them being Ginny Huguley of Columbia, SC.
Joe is gone for now, but will live on in the memories of his loved ones as we wait to join him one day in paradise."
A Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, September 10, 2021, 4:00 PM at St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Kellogg. Graveside services with military honors will be held at a later date at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake, WA. Memories of Joe and messages of condolence may be sent to his family online at www.shoshonefuneralservice.com. Shoshone Funeral Services, Kellogg, is assisting the Zubillaga family with arrangements.