ForeverMissed
Tributes
Posted by Bradley Parker on August 24, 2020
I imagine like many young men I met Joe while picking up one of his beautiful daughter's for a date. I arrived a bit early and we talked while I waited. "Can she bait a hook?" I asked. A fishing trip to a mountain lake was on the day's agenda and Joe replied that she could. While chit-chatting he started a sentence with the phrase "Well you know girls today..." that has stuck with me all of these years. I took that to be the quiet voice of wisdom from someone with a clear view of the world and not just some old guy's ramblings. Susan and I didn't catch any fish, not for the lack of trying, and we decided to stop at my parent's home which was on our way back to American Falls. My late father, an avid gardener, took notice when Susan said that her father had developed a variety of potato he had heard about. He wrote "Butte" in his note book and asked for Joe's name and phone number. In the following years, during conversations with my father, he would mention that he had phoned Joe to ask for advice on growing potatoes or how to treat some infestation or another. He liked talking to Joe about potatoes and fishing and I believe that they actually met once in person. I ended up in Twin Falls and only saw Susan a few more times before we drifted apart. As things turned out the talk that day in the driveway in American Falls would be the only personal interaction I ever had with Joe. I can only imagine the memories the kids have of Joe and Sylvia so to Susan, Mark and the others know that I'll never forget him. My prayers are with you.
Posted by Linda Sue on June 13, 2020
Mary and I met at a Caregivers' workshop in Pocatello in 2017 when we both had the privilege of taking care of parents. We soon became fast friends. I loved going to the American Falls Senior Center for lunch with them. I would usually walk the block and a half from their house with her Daddy, who would tell me stories all the way, usually of Minnesota or the Navy. We would be amazed that both of us had graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Her mother was also a delight, laughing often and easily at lunch. Of course, they were loved by everyone there, including me!
Posted by Jeff Stark on June 8, 2020
When I arrived at Aberdeen in the summer of 1981, I had just finished graduate school and knew little about the potato crop that I was hired to become an expert on. Joe took the time to mentor me and help me get headed in the right direction as a young researcher. Since my office was right next to his, we engaged in many conversations over the years on a wide variety of topics ranging from potato research to politics and religion. Although our opinions on these topics sometimes differed, Joe was always respectful of my thoughts and ideas and seemed genuinely interested in hearing what I had to say and I, in turn, learned a great deal from my conversations with him. He was always trying to learn and share what he learned with others. Joe was a very patient, kind gentleman who taught me many important lessons about both potatoes and life. I will miss him a great deal.
Posted by Mark Pavek on June 7, 2020
The Pavek Family thanks their friends, community, and potato family for the overwhelming support. The world lost two special people this spring and they will be missed. Your kind words, stories, and well-wishes provide comfort that cannot be described with words. We appreciate you and thank you.
Posted by Steve & Cathy James on June 6, 2020
To the family of Joe Pavek,

Cathy and I have fond memories of Joe and Sylvia. We truly feel for your loss. Joe was such a positive influence on my career in potato variety development. He was such a positive, encouraging person. I recall the countless hours we spent walking fields together looking for the perfect new potato variety -- laughing, joking, kidding each other, telling stories, sweating in the heat, shivering in the snow and yes, finding the next new potato variety.

Cathy fondly remembers dancing the polka with Joe at various times. She had many a great shopping and sightseeing trip with Sylvia during the PAA meetings. She looks back on those times with great pleasure.

Some people you meet positively impact your life in ways that you never forget. Joe was one of those persons.
Posted by Mary Pavek on June 1, 2020
This is the oldest of the "Pavek clan." (I would say the wisest, but I think 6 others would question that!) Something sweet happened at church yesterday (on the Feast of Pentecost) and it caused me to remember....

Dancing: My parents enjoyed dancing most of their lives. When they were courting, the two would waltz, polka and swing together. Their delight in it continued through their marriage. At one point, they were a part of an American Falls square dance troupe and they gathered each week to practice new moves.

I have a very distinct memory of daddy teaching me how to dance when I was about 8 years old. I placed my feet on top of his shoes and he put a "record" on and we started to waltz..."Ok, one, two, three...one, two, three", and around the living room we would go! I remember mostly giggling through the whole thing, but that was the start of loving dance.

Back to church: After receiving Communion, I was quietly sitting in the pew, listening to the soft piano music, actually picturing myself dancing. Suddenly, I heard:
"May I have this dance?"
Gasp...It was my daddy speaking to me! I could hear him clearly. Tears streaming down my face:
"Yes...forever, thank you!!!!" 
Posted by James Whitmore on June 1, 2020
I will miss Joe. He was a great mentor when I started with the University of Idaho. We worked together for 25 years and I always enjoyed him. Peace and happiness to the family as they proceed in life.
Posted by Rich Novy on June 1, 2020
Joe will be greatly missed...he was a warm person with an insightful mind and I have fond memories of walking with him in the field during selection of potato breeding clones at Aberdeen as well as the tour given to me by Joe of his irises in his garden at American Falls. He was very willing to share his irises and gave me several rhizomes when establishing my own flower beds in our house at Pocatello. Joe and Sylvia were very special people and their love for one another was obvious in the playful verbal banter between the two of them.  My condolences to the Pavek family for their loss and am hoping their memories of their loving parents will ease their pain during this difficult time.
Posted by Deb Hart on June 1, 2020
Dear Mark, Pam & Pavek family, I'm so very sorry to learn of your parent's passing. Take comfort they have left a lasting legacy, especially in the potato world, which will last for many years. My thoughts are with you and remember they will always be with you in your hearts. Take care.
Posted by Ewa Zimnoch-Guzowska on June 1, 2020
Dear the Pavek family,

We heart with deep regret of the death of Dr. Joe Pavek.
Joe was an excellent breeder of potato varieties. He was also a scientist who significantly contributed to the field of breeding research. I met Joe in the 1990s participating in PAA meetings. He followed with interest the work of our team from the Potato Institute in Młochów implemented in distant Poland. First contact with Dr. Joe Pavek was made by my predecessor, the founder of our team, Professor Świeżynski. Then, Teresa Sieczka from Młochów and Dr Andrzej Pawlak from Potato Breeding in Zamarte took internships in Aberdeen.

We all remember Joe like a great man. He was always warm, kind and friendly.
Please accept our sincere sympathy.

Ewa Zimnoch-Guzowska with Polish friends of Joe
Posted by Joe Guenthner on May 31, 2020
Dear Pavek family,

So sorry about the loss of Joe and Sylvia.

I first met Joe in 1980 when I moved into a UI Extension position in 1980. I last saw him a few years ago when he was helping Mark with a home improvement project. In between we interacted at countless potato industry meetings.

Joe was the same through all the years I knew him. He had a remarkable demeanor that projected friendliness, intelligence and humor. I remember him always having a smile on his face.

Joe was a role model for me and many others. He served his country, profession, family and community very well. Congrats to Joe for a life well lived.

Joe & Terri Guenthner
Posted by Dennis Corsini on May 31, 2020
Joe and I worked closely together for about twenty five years and we always remained, not just colleagues, but close friends. I regarded Joe as my mentor in the potato world. Gale and I shared many an outing together with Joe and Sylvia and all of our families, camping, fishing, just having a good time. I wish we could have been closer after retiring but distance definitely makes a big difference when you are trying to stay in touch with people. Mark, you especially were and still are good friends with our boys and we hope that continues even as us old folks pass out of the picture  God Bless! Dennis and Gale Corsini
Posted by Melvin Martin on May 30, 2020
To the family of Joe Pavek.
It was truly an honor to know Joe and Sylvia. Shawlene and I first got acquainted with them at a PAA banquet in Idaho in the 1970s.
I will always remember the disaster we had growing the Butte Variety, and the huge success we had growing Ranger Russet, Umatilla Russet and now Clearwater.
Joe was a great leader in the expansion and development for potato variety testing in the Western United States.
The potato industry will truly miss one of the great Potato breeders of the 20th century.
Posted by Ritchey Toevs on May 30, 2020
Dear Pavek family,
Your parents were a wonderful treasure our communities enjoyed for more than 50 years. They made our world an exponentially better place. 
May God's love comfort each of you in your loss.
Posted by Hielke De Jong on May 30, 2020
Dear Pavek family,

My condolences in the passing of both Joe and Sylvia.

Thank you very much for putting up the photo gallery. 

Mark, I don’t know how many father-son relationships there are in the professional potato world but you and your dad and my son Walter (potato breeder at Cornell U.) and I are two of them. I guess the kitchen table in your parents’ home must (at least on occasion) have served as a “potato forum” like it did in our house!

Looking at Joe's milestones I realize that I have always been a couple steps behind him. I was born six years after Joe, married two years after Joe and graduated with my Ph.D. in Plant Breeding from the U. of Wisconsin six years after Joe. And now Joe has beat me to heaven as well!

Even though Joe and I worked nearly 3,000 miles apart (I worked for 30 years in potato breeding at the Fredericton Research and Development Centre in NB, Canada), the fact that we were both in potato breeding virtually nullified that “physical distance.”

There was one encounter where I almost, for a very brief moment, caught up with Joe. This was at the December 1980 annual meeting of what was then called the NCR-84 (North Central Region) Potato Genetics Technical Committee in Chicago. Joe and I had, independently of each other, both studied the inheritance of russeting in diploid potatoes. Neither of us knew that the other one was studying this trait. At this meeting we both reported our results. As it turned out we came up with identical hypotheses (that this trait is determined by three independently segregating genes) and even used the same gene symbols (A, B, and C) in our respective presentations!

May your parents rest in peace,

Hielke (“Henry”) De Jong 
Posted by Joe Sowokinos on May 29, 2020
To the family of Joe Pavek, especially to Mark. I miss being able to attend as many potato meetings as I would like. I miss visiting with your dad. What an outstanding and caring person, he will be remembered as. Never a bad word for anyone. I wish out paths would have been closer together in everyday life.
My prayers are with all of you during this time of trial and that a lasting peace will soon follow.
Posted by Elmer Ewing on May 29, 2020
Dear Mark and other family members, Your Father and I were long-time potato friends, and I always enjoyed his company and admired his work. We got pretty well acquainted, but I wish I had known earlier more of the things that were included in his obituary--all of which I read with great interest. There were many parallels between his life and mine, but in most cases his was the better story. I was born at the beginning of the depression (1931) and by then he was already old enough to remember much more about it. He served in WW2, and I graduated from grade school the year it ended. He had five brothers; I had three sisters. (I won't say who was luckier there--you know the blessing of sisters, and I wouldn't trade one of mine for a brother.) We both learned to milk cows at an early age--I was six, but stopped milking when I was ten and our farm went broke. He could fix anything, including motors and electronics--I tried to be a fixer, but success was pretty much limited to things made of wood. He and your mother had seven children, we stopped with five. He had many interests beyond science--literature, history, religion, and philosophy, and I have the same ones. You can see that all this grabbed my attention as I read, but then I couldn't believe my eyes. I had to call my wife to share this--he entertained his children by reading The Cremation of Sam McGee. If only I had known, I would have had great fun reciting it to him! I heard it recited when I was in high school, learned it by heart, and have been afflicting children, grandchildren, friends with it ever sense. (Peter Davies, my colleague in Plant Physiology, asked me to do it at his retirement party.) Your father was a great man, a leader in the potato industry, and led a full and fruitful life. (I am sure he was proud to have a son follow in his potato profession, even in line to be president of the PAA!) In the words of Psalm 1, he was like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season. He will be missed, but we can all be grateful for his contributions and for the chance to share in his life. May God bless you all.
Elmer Ewing
Posted by Tom Salaiz on May 29, 2020
To the Pavek Family,

Pam and I are thinking and praying for all of you.

Psalm 56:13
"For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light."

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