Joseph Leo Adrian, 78, of White Bear Lake, Minnesota and Boca Grande, Florida passed away from complications due to ataxia on June 23, 2023. He is preceded in death by his loving parents, Herbert and Bernnes (née Peterson), brothers John, Herbert M. Jr., and Anthony.
Joe was known for his sharp wit, observant nature, quiet kindness and gregarious laugh. He loved to quietly tee up events and then sit back and watch them transpire. His lifestyle could be characterized by an unconventional combination of La Belle Vie and Chef Boyardee. He was a simple man who happened to like nice vehicles, most of all his John Deere. Joe’s guidelines for the good life included living on water, mood lighting and mowing the grass.
Joe grew up in the 1950s in St. Paul, Minnesota. The fifth child of ten in a devout Catholic family, he learned to orchestrate epic pranks and to captivate a large group with storytelling. In the late ‘60s, he served as a rifle instructor by day and a war protester by night. In 1973, Joe met Jane (née Gallivan) at his sister Mary Terese’s house party. He captured Jane’s attention with a sweet smile and a sportcoat with a velvet collar. They married in 1975 and had three daughters who adored their funny and frank dad.
A keen and practical business strategist, Joe initially worked as a stockboy, growing to understand sales and to eventually acquire a paper distribution company. He noted it was not glamorous to sell toilet paper, but it provided an essential service for the community. The company’s paper products helped hospitals, gas stations, universities, and the Minnesota State Fair run smoothly. He knew how fortunate he was to work alongside loyal colleagues, and that the success of the company for more than 50 years hinged on their dedication.
Honoring both work and play, Joe found joy in bringing people together for meals, to sit around the firepit, to boat, or to play tennis. He specialized in fresh French fries, piña coladas, and crispy nachos. He cultivated weekly tennis matches accompanied by curated playlists blasted at a volume well beyond his age. Setting the brackets and imagining the pairings prior to the game brought him as much joy as being out on the court, lobbing his opponents to oblivion.
Joe is survived by his beloved wife of 47 years, Jane; his daughters, Allison, Molly, and Laura; grandchildren Sevi, Leo, Mac, Caroline and Bennett; sisters and brothers Mary Anne (MA), Mary Catherine (Bunny), Mary Terese (MT), Sheila Marie, Tim, and Greg, and a large and loving extended family, followed by an even larger community of friends, heroes, bums, and GOATS.
The celebration of life will be at Seven Vines Vineyard in Dellwood, Minn. on July 2. A second service will be held in Boca Grande in the winter.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations be made in Joe’s honor to The Pillars Hospice Home of Oakdale, MN [beyondhospicemn.org] or the National Ataxia Foundation [ataxia.org].