Joe R. Lambert, 88, of Clear Lake passed away Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, surrounded by his loving family at MercyOne North Iowa Hospice in Mason City.

A celebration of Joe’s life will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, at The Hub, located in the Dock, 500 Main Ave, Clear Lake. Basketball games will be played in the adjoining gym, so please come casually dressed. Internment will take place in Memorial Park Cemetery at a later date.

Memorials may be directed to MercyOne Hospice of North Iowa Inpatient Unit.

Joe Russell Lambert was born Jan. 30, 1931, in Fairbank, the son of Joseph Preston and Ethel Marie (Melrose) Lambert. Growing up, Joe’s father was a superintendent of schools, and so the family moved numerous times. Joe graduated from Monona High School in 1949 and continued his education, earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Northern Iowa in just three years.

In September of 1952 Joe enlisted into the United States Army, where he served as a corporal in the Korean War. In September of 1954, Joe was honorably discharged and began working as a math and science teacher. In August of 1953, Joe married Berna J. Brownson in Monona. The couple was blessed with four children, Nancy, Joseph, David and Tom. Berna passed away tragically on June 15, 1964.

On June 12, 1968, Joe married Wanda Marie Robertson in Anamosa, and two families became one, with Wanda’s daughter, Cyndy, joining the four children. Joe earned his master’s degree at the University of Iowa and went on to become a principal, serving in Bode, Anamosa and later Clear Lake for 25 years until his retirement in 1993.

Joe was a caring man who truly had a heart for teaching and children. He could consistently find the good in each and every child, no matter how deeply they may have hidden it. Joe could be perceived as stoic and reserved, and yet he never met a stranger. Joe had many loves, including motorcycles, horses and music. A love of sports was a constant in Joe’s life and he used every opportunity to share his passion and skills with others. Joe’s main commitment was his beloved wife, Wanda, and together they enjoyed all of them.

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife of 51 years, Wanda of Clear Lake; their children, Cyndy M. (Harley) Stapes of Tiffin, Nancy J. (Duane) Caylor of Dubuque, Joseph A. (Gracie) Lambert of Stratford, David S. (Shelley) Lambert of Eagan, Minn., and Thomas M. (Liz) Lambert of Streetboro, Ohio; 11 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; as well as numerous extended family members. In addition to his immediate family, Joe saw the whole community of Clear Lake as his family and cared for them as such.

Preceding him in death are his parents, Joseph and Ethel; his first wife, Berna; a son in infancy; two grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

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