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Joseph Camery

April 02, 1954 - October 17, 2020


October 26, 2020
1:00 - 2:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center

Memorial Service

October 26, 2020
- 2:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center


Boulger Funeral Home

Joseph Camery

April 02, 1954 - October 17, 2020


Joseph’s service livestream will start at 1:30 PM Monday, October 26, 2020.

Joseph John Camery (West Fargo, ND), age 66, died October 17th, 2020 at Essentia Health in Fargo, ND after complications from a long, seven-year battle with cancer.

“Joey” was born on April 2nd, 1954 to Agnes K. Blum and Morgan P. Camery in Mankato, MN. He grew up in Le Sueur, MN where his mischievous spirit kept his parents and siblings on their toes. During his youth he was an altar boy, a boy scout, had a paper route, worked for local farmers in the summer and was a championship wrestler. Joe often annoyed his teammates with his big appetite by eating whatever he wanted before an upcoming match. He thought if he had to wrestle in a higher weight class, that wasn’t a big deal. His big appetite and laid-back attitude would be traits he was well known for throughout his life. He graduated from Le Sueur High in 1972 and was inducted into the Le Sueur- Henderson Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

After high school, Joe spent some time at Winona State University. Around this time, he was a successful crop and hail insurance salesman. He also spent time working for Distel Grain putting up grain bins around the countryside.

Joe moved to Moorhead, MN in 1981 and soon after welcomed two daughters. In the late 80’s, Joe moved to Fargo, ND. There he met his partner, Deb Sandbeck, gained two step-sons, and welcomed his third daughter. They eventually made their home in West Fargo. He worked as a talented, self-taught carpenter and started Camery Construction. Joe was not only smart, but lucky. His “nine lives” helped him survive two nail-gun ‘incidents’ and several ER visits from his jobs.

Joe’s magnetic personality provided many life-long friendships. Joe was happiest having a beer with friends and family and enjoying live music, “dark and smokey atmospheres”, fishing, and bonfires. Joe always brought fun, laughter, and fireworks to any event. You really had to be on full alert in the backyard because a firecracker could be lit at any time. Joe loved telling a good story as much as he loved living one. You could always tell when the story was good because he would throw his shoulders into a good laugh.

He could often be found in the garage no matter what season. You could hear the music from the garage year-round: Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Bob Seger, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones. Everyone was welcome in Joe’s garage- he was quick to offer you a five-gallon bucket to sit on and reluctantly offer you one of his Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. In addition to candy, Joe was known to put down a dozen donuts in a sitting. When his youngest daughter started working at Sandy’s Donuts in West Fargo, he would often greet her after a shift with a hearty, “Where’s my donuts?”.

Joe loved being a Dad and was overjoyed when he became a grandfather. Shouts of “Papa Joe!” by the grandkids could be heard as they showed up to Nana and Papa’s place. He could be found on Holidays playing with the kids and sitting at the kids’ table. He was almost always the last one sitting at the table, eagerly finishing everyone’s leftovers. He was known to sneak a bite from your plate if you weren’t quick enough and say, “What does this taste like?” or “Are you gonna eat that?”

Joe lived life at his own pace. He was known to love a good break- “take five” he’d say. Sometimes the breaks would last a little longer than they should. When asked about returning to the task at hand he was known to say, “not today anymore.”

Joe, Dad, Papa Joe- however you knew him- he left a huge imprint on your heart and he will be missed dearly. We wanted more time, but cancer said …not today anymore.

He is survived by his partner Deb Sandbeck and children, Abby (Jim) Lewis, Elizabeth (Bryan) Voss, Leah Camery (John Ferrie), Dan Sandbeck (Brandie Goulet), Adam (Andy) Sandbeck; his siblings, Vicki (Jim) Weber, Sue (Tom) Doherty, Jim (Tammy Tollefson) Camery, Tom (Miranda) Camery, Kristin Camery; and 11 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brothers Pete and Bill Camery.

Funeral will be held Monday, October 26th at Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo, ND with a visitation at 1 pm and Celebration of Life at 2 pm. Masks are required and will be provided if you don’t have one. Efforts have been taken to allow people to spread out and still hear and see the service throughout the funeral home for social distancing. He kindly ask to minimize hugging, hand shaking, etc. in an effort keep everyone healthy. We completely understand if you do not feel comfortable attending the service. A livestream of the service will start at 1:30pm and the recording of the service will be available, as well. We also plan to have a Celebration of Life in Le Sueur, MN next spring or summer.


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16 responses to “Joseph Camery”

  1. Deb Sandbeck says:

    We, the family of Joe Camery, invite you to share your Joe Camery stories with us here. Joe lead an adventurous life and had some great stories himself, which we asked to hear over and over. He was a rare human being – his light drew everyone in closer, his kindness and dry wit a delight to everyone who knew him. He was scrappy, well-read and well- spoken. He was an encyclopedia of building codes, classic rock music, history and politics. He was a guy’s guy, a ladies man, a loving Dad and a favorite grandpa – a big kid himself, he had all the time and energy in the world for his grandbabies, no matter how he felt. His character was a unique blend of John Wayne, Sam Elliott, and Peter Pan. Whether in suit and tie, or sawdust-covered jeans and polo, he was always classy, in a James Bond sort of way. His deep, booming voice and gruff talk was not enough to hide his kind, nurturing nature. He was always asking after the comfort of his family, tucking the covers in around us, asking if he could get us anything, handing over his remote if we were sick. He quietly contemplated the emotional needs of his family and friends when hard times hit their lives, and often found a way to support or comfort in his uniquely Joe Camery way, leaving a deep imprint on our hearts. Joe is the most well-loved and admired man I’ve ever known. I am blessed to have walked life’s path beside him these past 32 years. He is irreplaceable.

  2. Shannon Oye says:

    What a beautiful memoir of Joe. I am so sorry to read of your great loss. Joe was truly a unique and one of a kind, gentle soul. May your happy memories help you through this incredible loss. Many prayers of peace.

  3. Tom Monroe says:

    Joe was a great guy always joking around with us. When he showed up to my dads funeral I grew mad respect for him. He was my first customer with my repair business. I will miss him dearly and really noticed his fun spirit in all of his children.

  4. Laurie Selk-Swartz says:

    Prayers to you Deb and your entire family. Dan and I were blessed to have met him and heard some of those stories you talked about. He will be truly missed. God bless!
    Dan and Laurie Swartz

  5. Nancy Gable says:

    Joe Camery was a kind, friendly, helpful friend and neighbor the last years of his life. There were many family ties that bind us going back to Deb’s childhood home living across the street from Gables in the same house Joe & Deb remodeled and moved back into. Every year I visited my Mom; Mornings I walked or rode a bike by, I saw Joe having his coffee outside with a big smile and friendly “Hello”. He always took the time to chat. Joe often helped out my Mom when things needed fixing out of the kindness of his big heart. We All Appreciate his caring friendship very much and send our deepest heartfelt condolences to his entire family during this difficult time. He will be truly missed.

    The Gable Family

  6. Maureen Sigler says:

    As a Le Sueur classmate of Joe’s, I can confirm that his obituary describes his youth perfectly! In fact, another classmate and I were on FaceBook reminiscing about a Joe incident just a couple of weeks ago! My most prominent memory from my years at St. Anne’s Catholic School is of Joe in first grade. A girl sitting by him dared him to swallow a stub of pencil and he did so! What a guy!

    I had no idea that Joe had cancer. I am so sorry for your loss!

  7. Mike Peck says:

    My prayers and thoughts will be with Joe and his family members during this difficult time.

    Friend from St. Anne’s, Morningside Drive Days, Mike Peck

    “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled” (Luke 2:29)

  8. Cindy Dokken says:

    I met Joe over 25 years ago. I guess my son is actually the first to meet the Camery family. The Camery’s lived a block from me and one day my son walked over to their house and introduced himself and asked Joe if it was ok to be Leahs friend. Joe, being the proud man he was, accepted his request and they were buddies ever since. Chris probably extended his visits a bit longer then most but Joe never turned him away. Soon my daughter friended Leah and they became best friends ever since. Before you know it I was coming over and having visits with both Deb and Joe myself. I considered Joe a true friend. Every time I seen him he always had a smile on his face. As a single mother with no man in the house, Joe would do anything for me. I only had to ask once and he always helped me from sump pump hose fixtures to just borrowing me a simple tool. Sometimes when I stopped over for a visit, it wasn’t uncommon for Joe to grab a beer, pull up a chair to listen to my dating stories. He always seemed to have some sort of dating advise for me. One memory that sticks in my mind is the time I got a flat tire on interstate about 2 miles out of town. My jack was rusted and my spare was flat. I called Joe and asked if I could borrow a jack for the next day to try and replace the tire. Immediately Joe asked me where my car was and by the next day Joe had gone out to where my car was, put air in my spare, put the spare on and drove my car back to my house. I was happily surprised but that is Joe, he was always so kind. Joe definitely helped any damsel in distress. I sure appreciated all his kind gestures. He was a great man, great friend, and loved by so many. He will be dearly missed! I love you Joe! One more thing….If there are baseball games in heaven, I’ll know exactly where to find Joe when I get there!

  9. Tom Moriarty says:

    Neighbor still hearing Joe’s dad announcing dinner time-only once!
    Truly unique Joe!! Oh, the stories!! Smile at the memories!!
    North Morningside days-

  10. Jan Oye says:

    So sorry for your loss, Joe was a kind man, with a loving, genuine soul. He will be dearly missed by many. Much love and peace to you Joe, and to your dear family and friends. Keeping you close in prayer.



  12. Fran Allery says:

    Abby – So very sorry to her of your father’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  13. Bruce D Bauske says:

    Joe was a friend and my Boss for the last couple of years. He would find the jobs and I would help him get the work done, we would spend hours working and listening to the radio talking about family, politics, cars and the events that were occurring in the world he would have an opinion on everything. He told me stories of old that would make me laugh and envious of the wild life he had survived. I considered him a friend and confidant and I will miss him dearly. One small story I will relay is one of his generosity. Joe had stopped by my house one late afternoon and of course we were having a couple of Busch Lites on the back deck, I will always appreciate the Fact that Joe introduced me to Busch in the Box, well any way this when I was building my garage in the back yard. A guy in his 50’s I would guess came riding his bike down the sidewalk and he was coming home from work some sort of day job from labor ready , he saw us and came up and asked if I needed any help with the project, still needed siding at that time. I told him that I really did not need any help but I appreciated the offer, The guy was about to head off and Joe said hold up a minute and took out a $20 and gave the guy the bill, the guy said God Bless you and I think Joe was truly a blessed person. Joe said he gave him the money because the guy was at least willing to work and he respected that. I know that his kids knew he was proud of them he talked of them often and bragged of their accomplishments as he kind of shared in their glory. He was good friend and I miss him, his laugh, his chuckle, his loud booming voice, I am sorry that I did not know him longer, God Bless you Joe, your friend, Bruce Bauske.

  14. Tom and Lou Wetzel says:

    Beth and Brian, We are praying for you and your family. Death is not easy and a parent is so emotionally hard. Romans 6:4 tells us, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

    Keeping my faith and God close helps me through my emotions.

    Peace to you,
    Lou and Tom Wetzel

  15. Barrett Somdahl says:

    Joe was a great friend always and I will miss his humor and smile. He would always come up with an idea when my project was not in need of a level or a square. His one little piece of advice was “Barrett you can’t expect to make chicken soup out of chicken *^#! ” Met Joe late 80’s and had many good times to remember. He had a big heart for all his friends and family and will be missed by many.

  16. Paul Wanner & Family says:

    Very sorry to hear the passing of Joe Mama. He was always such a joy to be around. The stories he could tell always brought tears down my cheeks in laughter. One of the first people I met when I joined the campground at Rose Lake. Overall good guy. Rest easy Joe.. You will be missed.

    Paul Wanner and family

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