Joseph Martin Vacura

January 18, 2017


Joseph Martin Vacura, 92, of Austin, MN, died Wednesday, January 18, 2017, peacefully in his home. Joe was born on November 11, 1924 in Austin, MN, the son of Mary (Sojka) Vacura and Frank Vacura. He grew up in Austin, where he attended school. In 1941, Joe enlisted in the United States Navy, where he proudly served until November 29, 1945, when he was honorably discharged from service. He served on the U.S.S. Stephen Potter (DD-538) as a gunner during World War II. After his discharge from the Navy, he moved back to Austin and got a job working for the Milwaukee Railroad as a Switchman. He suffered an accident while working on the railroad, and was hospitalized. This hospitalization turned into quite a blessing, as it was there that he met his first love, Evelyn J. Naatz. Joe and Evelyn united in marriage on May 23, 1954, and had one daughter from their union. The couple lived in Austin where they built a home on the Ramsey Golf Course, close to the Cedar River and the Ramsey Dam. Evelyn died in 1985. In 1996, he met his second love, Rosie J. Closs (“Puddin-head”). Joe swept Rosie off of her feet and they were united in marriage on October 25, 1997. They resided in Austin, where they lived in their home on the Ramsey Golf Course. The Lord blessed them with 20 years of marriage. Joe proudly owned and operated Skelly Service Station on 1st Avenue SW in Austin, MN for ten years beginning in the mid-1950’s. Joe loved to drive the “Big Rigs.” He held jobs driving semi for Weyerhaeuser in Austin, MN and Hyman Freightways in St. Paul, MN, from where he retired in 1989. Joe continued his love of the “Big Rigs” by working for Palmer Bus Service in Austin, MN. Joe rode the bus everyday with the school kids for four years until June of 2015. Joe was an outdoorsman at heart and loved to play golf, mow his yard, rake leaves, plow snow with his 1954 International Truck, and drive his 1964 Imperial (“Sophie”) to car shows. Joe will be sadly missed by his wife, Rosie Vacura, Austin, MN; daughter and son-in-law, Carol (Vacura) McAlister and Jack McAlister, Austin, MN; step-son and daughter- in-law, AJ and Brandy Semonich, Elk Horn, WI; five grandchildren, Eric McAlister, Bloomington, MN, Ryan McAlister, Toddville, IA, Aron McAlister, Austin, MN, Emily McAlister, Roseville, MN, Evan McAlister, Austin, MN; two great-grandchildren, Josey McAlister, Austin, MN, and Kadyn Gade, Bloomington, MN; and one step great-granddaughter, Cheyanne Semonich, Elk Horn, WI. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mary (Sojka) and Frank Vacura; wife, Evelyn Vacura; two brothers John Vacura and James Vacura; sister Mary (Vacura) Chmelik; and brother-in-law Henry (Hank) Chmelik. Joe donated his body to Mayo Medical Science in Rochester, MN. Service: A memorial service will be held at 1 PM on Monday, January 23, 2017 at Cornerstone Church in Austin, MN with Pastor David Simerson officiating. A luncheon will follow the service to celebrate Joe’s life and his memory.

Service Information


Monday, January 23 2017
1:00 PM

Cornerstone Church
1403 1st Ave SW
Austin MN 55912

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