Joe Edward Muirhead passed peacefully with his family on July 24, 2020, at the age of 71. Joe was born on November 18, 1948 in Baytown, Texas. He was the second son of William Vernon and Jeanette Elaine Willaby Muirhead, both of whom preceded him in death. Joe is also preceded in death by his daughter, Marlene Louise Muirhead-Martin and three of his brothers. During his youth, Joe enjoyed hunting, fishing, herding cattle and exploring the woods near his grandfather Willaby’s land along the east fork of the San Jacinto River in Montgomery County. Joe was an athletic teenager and often shared stories of his glory days on the football field and at track meets when he competed as a Splendora Wildcat.
In spring of 1969, Joe joined the Houston Fire Department. He was assigned to Station 54 where he trained as an aircraft rescue firefighter. After the opening of Station 92, Joe transferred, gained certification as an emergency medical technician and served on the HFD Rescue Unit at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Joe retired after 40 years of service in May 2009 and often participated in events hosted by the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund.
Joe enjoyed socializing and was an active citizen in Splendora. In 1978, Joe and his wife, Mary Lee, opened Splendora Feed Center at the northwest corner of Old Highway 59 and FM 2090. The business sold agricultural products, Joe baled hay in the community, and they supported local 4-H and FFA participants. Joe was a lifetime member and faithfully attended services at Splendora First Baptist Church. He loved to hear the piano being played and singing hymns as a member of the choir to praise the glory of Jesus. In the early 80’s, Joe assisted with the annual Founder’s Day celebrations, often sponsoring the live music for the annual street dance. Joe also proudly served on the Splendora ISD Board of Trustees. All four of his children attended Splendora ISD from kindergarten through graduation. Throughout the years, Joe’s booming voice and the ringing of his cowbell were heard from the bleachers cheering on the WILDCATS at many Splendora athletic events!
During retirement, Joe devoted time to several organizations. He joined the Houston chapter of the United Nations Association International Choir, which allowed him to perform with musicians and singers from all over the world. He was a favorite host for the Montgomery County Forest Landowners Association. Joe also attended Shriner events with his friend, Lonnie Hamrick, and was a Mason with the Sam B. Crawford Lodge #1418 based in New Caney.
Joe loved living! He was a curious man and liked to start his day with a good breakfast and his morning copy of the Houston Chronicle. It was always an adventure to accompany him on a spontaneous road trip. Some of his frequent destinations included visits with family & friends, checking on his land in Iola, any livestock market within a 100 miles or an evening at the movie theatre. And Joe loved music--especially with live bands and taking a spin on the dance floor!
Joe leaves behind his dear siblings Walter Vernon, Linda Jeanette and her husband James Beckworth, and his youngest brother, Dude Harold. He will be missed by his beloved children Mark and wife Lauren, Dan and wife Angela, and his daughter, Joanna. Joe will be remembered fondly as PaPaw by his sixteen grandchildren: Jessica, JoeBob, Charles, Briana, Julianna, Cynthia, Darren, Rebecca, Katrice, Taylor, Allie Mae, Mark Jr, Jaylyn, Kaylyn, Cara, and Marley Sue and six great grandchildren; Nataleigh, Caleb, Brayleigh, Kase, Tucker, and Luke. Joe had numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and many treasured friends.
Visitation with Joe’s family will be held at Neal Funeral Home in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 28 from 6:00pm-9:00pm. Funeral services will be held at Neal Funeral Home on Wednesday, July 29 at 10:00am with Pastor Kevin Okonski and Pastor Sterling Edwards officiating. Joe’s wish to establish a family cemetery has been honored. Interment at the Muirhead Memorial Cemetery at M+ Ranch will be held on Wednesday evening at 7:30pm.
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