The Coast News Group

Obituary – Joseph Wells Musser

In loving memory of Joseph Wells Musser August 27, 1925 – November 17, 2022

Funny, smart, gentle, kind. Joe was a gentleman and a gentle man. He will be missed, but he will never be forgotten by those of us lucky enough to have loved him.

Joe was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1925 and grew up with his parents, Joseph and Geneva, sisters Rosanne and Marjorie and younger brother Dan. He told wonderful stories about life in Hawaii in the 1920s and ’30s.

He graduated from Punahou High School in Honolulu in 1943, and joined the U.S. Navy at – barely – age 18, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. His family was living on Oahu at the time, and his father was serving in the Navy at the Harbor on that day.

After World War II ended, he attended the University of Michigan, where he met and fell in love with Shirley Miller. They married in 1953, and settled down in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where all three of their daughters, Susan, Anne, and Jane, were born.

In 1954, Joe began his Christmas tradition of creating hand-drawn Christmas cards, which he continued until 2019. Each year’s card featured family additions and other milestones. 

The Musser family moved to Southern California in 1967, settling in Solana Beach. Joe worked as a researcher and histologist for UCSD and the Veterans’ Administration until he retired at 65.

Together Joe and Shirley were enthusiastic world travelers and life-long learners. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on February 14th, 2003. 

Shirley passed way later that year, after a long, brave battle against cancer, with Joe by her side.

Joe moved to Encinitas after Shirley’s death, and continued to live an active life into his 90s. He had a life-long passion for word games, crosswords, puzzles and sudoku. He won every Scrabble game he ever played.

He eventually moved in with his daughter Susan and son-in-law Dan, and lived with them, benefitting from their loving care, for five more years. 

Living with Susan and Dan meant he got regular visits with his three grandchildren, Kate, Tim, and Lizzy. And his two great grandsons, Max and Jack!

Joe is survived by daughters Susan, Anne and Jane, son-in-law Dan, daughter-in-law Becca, grandchildren Kate and her husband Mark, Tim, and Lizzy and her husband Ryan, great grandsons Max and Jack, and many nieces and nephews, and cousins.

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