Devoted husband, father, and lifelong dreamer, Joe Nobo, 72, died on November 5th 2018, in Lawrence, KS – following the recent loss of his wife, Missy, in August. As was true for his whole life, Joe’s devoted family attended to him in the final hours. He was at peace and ready to join his beloved wife for all eternity.
Joe was born Jose Elias Nobo in Havana, Cuba, on December 30, 1945 to parents Pedro Pablo Nobo y Gelats and Rosa Fina Espinosa y Alfonso. In his youth, Joe persisted against numerous obstacles and immigrated to America as a teen in 1959 – following the communist revolution in Cuba. With his mother and brother by his side, he not only survived but thrived against the odds.
In his early 20’s, Joe lived in Norman, Oklahoma and met the woman of his dreams, Melissa D. Lummus, during her sophomore year of college. Joe and Missy were married in Tulsa on December 29, 1971. They promptly moved to Ponce, Puerto Rico for three years so that Joe could pursue his career with Josten’s. Upon leaving Puerto Rico, they ventured north to Topeka, KS where they put down roots and started a family. They were blessed with three children who joined them as they made their final move to Lawrence in 1995, where Joe completed a fulfilling 45-year career as an entrepreneur.
Joe was a gifted creator and storyteller. He was most comfortable piloting new ideas and leading start-up businesses. He always had a new idea or invention waiting to take shape. He was a jack of all trades and ran multiple companies, like Ogden Check Approval, Culligan Water, and the Taco Casa restaurant in Lawrence. He spent his final working years with a close group of colleagues at Crown Toyota. He had many friends and mentees, with whom he cherished countless happy memories.
Upon his retirement from Crown in 2009, Joe traveled to Puerto Rico to visit family; spent quality time with his sweet granddaughters – who filled him with more joy than you could possibly imagine; enjoyed quiet nights at home with his wife; snuggled with his dog, Gizmo; and regaled captive audiences with endless stories.
But most of all, Joe was the embodiment of love. He had an infinite supply of it. He wanted nothing but for everyone to know how proud he was of them, how sure he was they could accomplish anything, how much he supported their choices. He was literally the person who gave the shirt off his back (or the free taco from his restaurant). He believed in the American Dream and was always thankful for being welcomed into his Kansas communities over the years. Joe was a fan of great music and he sang, conducting in the air, with reckless abandon. He communicated through song, using it to celebrate the good times and lament deep sadness.
As sad as we all are to lose Joe, we know he couldn’t bear this world without Missy. Less than three months after her death, he joins her in Heaven. There is peace in the amazing welcome committee Joe will have when he arrives – his wife, his parents, his brother – Bernie, his cousin – Estrella, and his late son, Joshua.
Those left behind will forever feel the loss. He is survived in life by his and Missy’s three children Peter Nobo, Lana Nobo-Garcia and Caroline Sarnoff; children-in-law, Torri Nobo, Mike Garcia, and Jesse Sarnoff; beloved granddaughters Ella, Addeline, Graci, Lawson, and Havana. Sister-in-law Jeanette Nobo, and many close nephews and nieces who loved him with all of their hearts. Joe’s network was massive, he has more friends than can be counted and he devoted time and love to every single one of them. To know Joe, was to be grateful for a supportive and loving friend always in your corner.
Joe’s family would like to acknowledge and thank the compassionate and extremely competent team of doctors and professionals who have cared for Joe since his diagnosis with COPD. From the pharmacists at Dillions, the ladies at Criticare, and his exceptional fleet of doctors, he was deeply thankful for your care and often bragged about how smart you were.
Friends and family are encouraged to attend a service celebrating Joe’s life on November 12th, 2018 at 3:00pm, Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. Reception to follow.
Memorial contributions may be made to the family and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.
For more information or to post a condolence go to warrenmcelwain.com.