Pearl Harbor Survivor Remembered

September 29, 1917 – March 18, 2009
Joe E. Kiser

I first met Joe Kiser this past August at the Cleveland Community Center in Russell County, VA. Easily recognizing that he was the center of attention at the annual Kiser-Sutherland family reunion, I was drawn close enough to hear Joe sharing his memories with family.

Not boastful, as some might be who had survived such things as the attack on Pearl Harbor. Not negative, as some who have attained the ripe old age of 90, only to find themselves with very little eyesight and dependent on others. Joe was a kind, courteous, friendly sort of man with a smile on his face that warmed the hearts of everyone in the room. His positive outlook never waivered, even though he might have to stop and think on things, giving his memory time to catch up with the questions.

Apparently, Joe has fed the likes of us family history buffs for years with his stories from the past. He especially delighted me with his childhood account of lighting a corn-cob pipe for Granny Haley. (Mahala Sutherland Kiser, my 2nd great grandmother). That particular day, the last Kiser-Sutherland reunion he would attend, Joe Kiser and Earl Campbell shared a story about ole Tom Sutherland and the one time he left the county. They said that when he came back home that all he talked about for the rest of his life was how high those Kentuck women could kick. I’m not real sure what lay beneath that tale, but it didn’t really matter. Joe charmed everyone with his humor, his contagious smile and his modest demeanor.

He will be sorely missed by those who knew him all these many years, and by those of us who just met him for the first time. I’m blessed to have made his acquaintance. Rest in peace Joe.


LEBANON, Va. – Joe E. Kiser, age 91, passed away Wednesday, March 18, 2009, in Russell County Medical Center. He was born September 29, 1917, in Russell County, a son of the late Loy Kiser and the late Iris Amburgey Kiser. He was the husband of the late Virginia Taylor Kiser. He was a WWII Veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps, a Pearl Harbor survivor, a life member of the Lebanon V.F.W. Post No. 9864 and a member of the Honor Guard of the Post. Joe attended Carbo Community Church.

In addition to his parents and wife he was preceded in death by a daughter, Sarah Kiser; sisters, Peggy Kiser, Nadine Kiser, and Kathleen Vance; brothers, Tom Kiser and Paul Kiser.
Survivors include a daughter, Thelma Walters, Lebanon; a son, Tippy Joe Kiser and wife Brenda, Lebanon; granddaughter, Pat Kiser and Dean Deskins; grandsons, Jay Shepard and wife Kathy, and Brian Shepard; great-grandson, Dalton Deskins; great-granddaughter, Nikki Shepard; sister, Grace Parrott, Cleveland; and several nieces and nephews.

The funeral service will be conducted at 8 p.m. Friday, March 20, 2009, in the Combs Funeral Service chapel, with the Rev. Roger Phillips and the Rev. Duane Musick officiating. Burial will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21, 2009, in Ketron Memorial Gardens in Lebanon, where full military honors will be conducted by the Lebanon V.F.W. Post 9864. Those attending are to meet at the funeral home by 1:30 p.m. to go in procession to the cemetery. Members of the Post will serve as pallbearers. The family will receive friends 6 to 8 p.m. prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Lebanon V.F.W. Post No. 9864, P.O. Box 133, Swords Creek, VA 24649. Combs Funeral Service, 291 Fincastle Road, Lebanon, VA 24266, (276) 889-4444, is serving the Kiser family.

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