Cover photo for Joe M Magdalena's Obituary
Joe M Magdalena Profile Photo
1931 Joe 2023

Joe M Magdalena

May 3, 1931 — February 4, 2023

Joe Mike Magdalena was born May 3, 1931 in Santa Rosa, Texas to Tony and Gertrude Magdalena. The youngest of four children, Joe graduated from Santa Rosa High School in 1948 and later joined the Air Force. He was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming at the Francis E. Warren Air Force base.

He married the love of his life and one who would stand beside him through thick and thin, Juliann Grace Schmeltekopf, from Kyle, Texas on May 21, 1952. Their marriage was blessed with two children, Pamela and Gordon.

Joe lived his life with gusto. A lover of the land, he farmed cotton, grain, corn, and other crops.  He was most comfortable in his boots, jeans, cowboy hat, or one of his many caps. Oh, and don’t forget he always had his toothpick.

Joe was not one to stay idle. In addition to farming, he was a vegetable buyer for SnoBoy in La Feria and LaMantia, Cullum & Collier in Weslaco, plus he worked for the Joe Beseda Grain Company in Whiteface, Texas during grain season. He was active in his community, serving on the Santa Rosa ISD school board. Early morning coffee with the guys to talk over crops, the weather, basketball scores, and any other news was a daily activity he looked forward to.

In the seventies and eighties, Joe, affectionately known as “Bobo” in the CB community, reached out on the airwaves building a network of friends. Many cherished memories were made on their visits to the Carolinas for reunions, vacations, and just getting together for no reason at all.

Blessed with determination and a strong work ethic, Joe also left room for spontaneity and surprises. His most meaningful experiences were those not planned. He loved the outdoors and looked forward to hunting and fishing trips with his buddies.

Joe retired from farming at the age of 55 and decided he would do a few things to stay busy, so he first took a job working for the La Feria Irrigation Water District. After retiring from the water district, he started towing trailers for winter Texans to and from their storage facilities and trailer parks.

Joe and Juliann enjoyed pulling one of their many fifth wheels across the United States, traveling the East coast, West coast, several states in between, Canada and Alaska, but their love was Colorado. For over thirty-five years, Joe and Juliann journeyed to Dolores Colorado, seeking out the majestic mountains, staying 3-6 months each year and meeting up with their RV friends.

Joe always enjoyed working with his hands. Later in life, he took up cutting and polishing rocks.  No matter where he was, Joe was always searching for just the right stone that he could turn into a beautiful piece of jewelry, many of which he gave away. He also loved working in the yard and growing roses often, surprising Juliann by bringing her a few blooms “just because.”

Joe loved and adored his family. He was a committed friend, and his dogs held a special place in his heart. But oh, how he loved his Peanut M&M’s.

Joe completed his 91 years of life on this earth and entered his heavenly home on February 4, 2023.

Joe is survived by his wife of seventy years, Juliann; daughter, Pam Rickard of Boerne, Texas; and son, Gordon (Becky) Magdalena of Harlingen, Texas  He is also survived by grandchildren, Melissa (Derek) Darst of College Station, Texas, Jason Magdalena of Austin, Texas, and Lauren (Kendall) Sizemore of Edmond, Oklahoma; along with five great grandchildren, Dylan, Maren and Hayden Darst, and Sawyer and Emmy Sizemore; as well as several nieces and nephews.

Honorary pallbearers include lifelong friend, Kenneth Fultz, grandson, Jason Magdalena, and numerous nephews.

The family wishes to thank and recognize Minnie Duarte and staff for their loving care. We would also like to thank you for your presence and expressions of love and support during these last days.

The Magdalena family will receive relatives and friends at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home on Monday, February 13, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. followed at 2:00 p.m. by a celebration of Joe's life and legacy.

In lieu of flowers, donations are encouraged to the Alzheimer Association (

You are invited to share remembrances and condolences by clicking the "Tribute Wall" tab at the top of this page.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joe M Magdalena, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, February 13, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Monday, February 13, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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