Obituary: Joseph Whitaker, 67, Custer.

January 6, 2016
Joe Whitaker

Joe Whitaker

Joseph Howard Whitaker, 67, of Custer died suddenly on Monday, January 4, 2016.  Joe was born on June 4, 1948 in Ludington, the son of Harry and Meg (Wing) Whitaker.  On October 27, 1965 he married his best friend Linda Forbes and they have celebrated 50 blessed years together.

Joe had many interests and wore several hats in his life.  He worked many years as a truck driver, musician, salesman, and as a pastor.  He drove a route selling meat, sold automobiles, operating Joe’s Auto Sales in Custer, and assisted his niece in ministry at Beacon Ministries.  As a musician, his band was known as “Custer’s Last Stand” and was the house band at Johnny’s for several years.  He enjoyed hunting and fishing, and was an avid Detroit Tigers fan.  Joe loved his family and supporting them in all of their activities, whether attending sporting events, or just being their biggest fan.  Unplanned, last minute long road trips will forever be remembered.  As a pastor, Joe loved serving the Lord.  He led a Jail Ministry at the Mason County Sheriff Department for over 20 years and previously at the prison in Free Soil before its closure.  He ministered with music alongside his family at Beacon Ministries, and was privileged to lead many friends to the banqueting table prepared for them in heaven.

Joe will be greatly missed by his wife Linda, his children Melissa and Mike Griffis, Jody and Curtis Stewart, Dana and Lyle Kessel, Caleb and Jennifer Whitaker, all of Custer; his grandchildren Allie, Cassidy, and Miley Kessel, Jamie, Neal, and Amelia Stewart, Bridget and Emma Whitaker; his brother Dan (Christine) Whitaker of Alabama; his sisters Joan (Bob) Edwards of Custer, Suzy (Jerry) VanderWall of Grand Haven, and Jane (Ed) Myer of Ludington; his brother-in-law Jim (Leslie) Forbes of Custer; his aunt Elizabeth Wing also of Custer; many nieces, nephews, and cousins, and his many friends at Beacon Ministries, Hunan Gardens, and the Breakfast Club at Big Boy.

A Celebration of Joe’s Life and Ministry will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 9, 2016, at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Ludington with his niece, Pastor Tammy Bacon, officiating.  Burial will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Custer.  Friends may meet with his family for a time of visitation on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the church.  Those who wish to remember Joe with a donation are asked to consider the care of his family.

Please visit Joe’s personal memory page at to leave a tribute of Joe for his family or to light a candle in his memory.


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