Joe E. Schaefer

Joe E. Schaefer

January 1, 1951 – March 28, 2022

Survived by his most wonderful and beloved wife, Patricia; his beloved daughters: Jennifer (TJ), Jessica (Mark), and Jaclyn; stepson, Matthew (Michelle); and six beloved grandchildren.

VISITATION: Thursday, March 31st from 5pm to 7pm at Mary Our Queen Catholic Church, 3405 S. 118th St., followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, April 1st at 10:30am, Mary Our Queen Catholic Church.  Interment, Resurrection Cemetery.  Memorials are suggested to Methodist Hospice or Mt. Michael High School.

To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please go to and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.


Joe Edward Schaefer was born January 1, 1951, in Lusk, Wyoming, to parents Charles and (Cecelia) Arline Schaefer of Harrison, Nebraska.  His earliest days were spent on the family ranch north of Harrison.  Eventually the family moved to town for the school system and a larger home to accommodate the larger family, older brother Robert, sisters Mary and Marjorie, and later, brother John.

Joe attended school in the Harrison Grade School and the Sioux County High School.  He attended UNL and Chadron State College before going to work as a mechanic at Hiway Garage.  He later returned to CSC obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in English Education.  After working for a time for CSC as Associate Director of Cooperative Education, he returned to working at Hiway Garage and Auto Parts as General Manager.  Eventually he purchased property and built and opened Motor Specialty in Harrison.

Joe married Carla Cox and to that union were born his three daughters, Jennifer, Jessica, and Jaclyn, who he considered three of the greatest blessings a man could receive.  He loved all the time spent in Harrison with his children and his parents, who doted on the kids.

While in Harrison, Joe volunteered for the Harrison Ambulance Squad and Fire Department.  During those 19 years, he served on the Panhandle Emergency Services Board, the Nebraska Board of Ambulance Advisors, the Nebraska Trauma System Development Board, and was president of the Nebraska EMT Association.

Joe served two terms as Chairman of the Harrison Board of Trustees.

He sold his business and returned to CSC where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Justice Studies in 1997.  He was granted admission to the UNL College of Law that year and graduated in 2000.  He was admitted to the Nebraska Bar Association later that year.  While in law school he had begun working for Senator Bob Wickersham in the Nebraska Legislature, and later, Senator Elaine Stuhr.  He was hired as counsel by the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Board in 2002.  He later worked at Heritage Financial Services in Omaha.

He met and married Patricia Heavey Hoppe in 2005 and they made their home in Omaha.  Grandchildren Connor, Luke, Cole, and Trent added to the joy of family.  Stepson Matt Hoppe and his wife Michelle brought two more grandchildren to the mix.  Sam and Claire made it six and many family events and activities occurred at the Omaha home, comprising some of Joe’s favorite memories.

Joe worked as a mediator for five years, in a widely varied mediation field, but later specialized in high conflict mediations.

After retirement he obtained a part time job at Cabela’s in LaVista as a firearms appraiser, salesman, and buyer.  He collected and later sold his extensive collections of US M1 Carbines and Smith & Wesson revolvers.

In 2021, Joe was diagnosed with cancer and he fought through surgeries and chemotherapy until getting a clear pathology report in January 2022.  The cancer was found to have recurred soon after and Joe decided to devote the last of the time he had allotted to him with his most wonderful and beloved wife Patricia, his beloved daughters Jennifer (TJ), Jessica (Mark), and Jaclyn, stepson Matthew (Michelle), his beloved grandsons, Connor, Luke, Cole, Trent, and Sam, and (finally a girl!) his granddaughter Claire.

Regardless of the trials he encountered, Joe retained his wry and irreverent sense of humor to the end.



  • Cindy Rutledge Posted March 30, 2022 8:13 am

    Please know that I am thinking of you and the rest of your family at this time. My deepest condolences.

  • Amy and Casey Holmgren Posted March 30, 2022 9:04 am

    We are so sorry to hear of Joe’s passing . Peace be to the family at this time. Sending love and prayers!

  • Anita Evans Posted March 30, 2022 10:22 am

    My thoughts are with you at this sad time. Joe was a wonderful man. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  • Julie Gehrig Posted March 30, 2022 11:20 am

    Our sympathy to Joe’s family.. I will miss this special cousin so very much! He always made me laugh!

  • Laura Baack Posted March 30, 2022 11:45 am

    So sad to hear of my sweet, funny and loving cousin Joe’s passing. I thank God that Joe knew the Lord and believed in eternal life. This is the promise that we will be together again one day. Tom and I send our sympathy to Patty, children/grandchildren and Mary, Marjorie and John. I love you all.

  • Chuck & Donna Holmgren Posted March 30, 2022 2:20 pm

    You have our sincere sympathy. Miss seeing you 3 girls. Your Dad was blessed with a wonderful family. Sending prayers.

  • Dean Cole Posted March 30, 2022 2:57 pm

    I loved Joe’s wit, sense of humor, loyalty to friends and knowledge on a number of subjects. I was fortunate to have known joe and work with him while serving as Nebraska Nebraska Emergency Medical Services/Trauma Program Administrator. I always appreciated his common sense missionary zeal to better emergency medical care for rural Nebraska. May the force be with you my friend…….

  • Darryl Posted March 31, 2022 12:24 pm

    Lasting piece & memories to my nieces.

  • Cindy Morrison Posted April 3, 2022 9:23 am

    So sorry to the family. He was an amazing man

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