Joe Ponce, 85, of Parsons, passed away at 7:35 p.m., Friday, October 28, 2022, at Presbyterian Manor in Parsons.
He was born on February 24, 1937, to Ralph Sr. and Ysidora (Cabrera) Ponce in Chanute, Kansas. As a young boy, he grew up and attended school in Chanute, graduating with the class of 1955. In 1957, he earned an Associate of Arts degree from Chanute Junior College, then continued his education at Pittsburg State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974. He served in the U.S. Army 1960-1962.
For a number of years, Joe worked for Day and Zimmerman at the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant. From 1991 until his illness and retirement in 2016, he worked at Parsons Presbyterian Manor, providing transportation and other support for the residents.
A lifelong Catholic, Joe was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Parsons. He grew up playing fast-pitch softball for various teams in the Mexican-American softball leagues, often playing and traveling with his brothers. He also played and umpired for the Parsons Recreation Commission leagues. In 2008, Joe was inducted into the Mexican-American Athletic Club Hall of Fame in Newton. Over the years, he also coached girls’ softball and bowled competitively at Tower Bowl in Parsons.
Joe was known around Parsons for the kindness and respect he always showed to others. He spent many hours upon hours helping Parsons residents with home projects and other necessities.
On June 12, 1965, Joe and Julia Negrete were united in marriage at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Parsons, Kansas. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include:
Two sons – Steve Ponce of Overland Park, Kansas
Robert Ponce of Joplin, Missouri
One daughter – Carol Shankel and her husband, Tony, of Olathe, Kansas
Six grandchildren – Christopher Ponce, Nicholas Ponce, Jaden Ponce, Daniela Ponce, Thomas Shankel, and Julie Ponce
Six brothers – Rueben Ponce and his wife, Janet, of Austin, Texas
Harley Ponce of Chanute, Kansas
Ted Ponce of Chanute, Kansas
Chris Ponce and his wife, Susan, of Chanute, Kansas
Lupe Ponce of Parsons, Kansas
Ralph Ponce, Jr. and his wife, Shannon, of Wichita, Kansas
Three sisters – Mickey Hernandez and her husband, Joe, of Chanute, Kansas
Liz Guerra and her husband, Francisco, of Olathe, Kansas
Rebecca Rodriguez and her husband, Pete, of Wichita, Kansas
He was preceded in death by his parents; one infant son, Michael Joseph Ponce; one sister, Mary Fernandez; four infant siblings; and sister-in-law, Esther Ponce.
The funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, November 3, 2022, at St. Patrick Catholic School Gymnasium in Parsons. Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Parsons with military honors presented by the Brown-Bishop, VFW Post 704. The rosary will be prayed at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, at the Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Parsons. The family will receive friends following the rosary.
Memorials are suggested to St. Patrick Catholic Church Renovation Fund. These may be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, KS 67357.