Joseph R. (Joe) Kobe of Ely, MN passed away peacefully at his home on March 6, 2021.
He was born on July 5, 1950 in Ely, MN. He was the 7th of 10 children born to Joseph and Ellia (Buraglio) Kobe (some say her favorite). In high school, he was an avid baseball and hockey player. He graduated from Ely Memorial High School in 1968 and a short 3 years later was drafted and sent on his first plane flight to Vietnam where he served as a military police officer.
After his service, he spent a short time in California, and then returned home to Ely where he owned and operated Kobe’s Liquor store as well as an auto repair service.
Despite never wanting to live in the Twin Cities, he moved there and worked 12 years in the carpentry trade where he met two life-long friends. He introduced them to Ely, where they spent many weekends hunting and fishing.
In 2001, his lifelong dream came to fruition when he completed building their log home on White Iron Lake. He and his wife, Debbie, along with their beloved dog, Mitzi, returned to their hometown of Ely where he eventually retired and enjoyed their home in the woods and small town living. Many great friendships were developed and saunas had.
Joe is proceeded in death by his parents, Joe and Ellia Kobe; sister, Patty Muhvich; brothers-in-law, George Muhvich and Ken Hildebrandt; and stepson, Jon Max Rice.
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Debbie Kobe (Zoretic); siblings, Merijo Kobe; Jim (Mary Ann) Kobe; Bill (Bonnie) Kobe; Kathy (Mike) Horstman; Theresa Hildebrandt; Mark (Rhonda) Kobe; Jeanne (Larry) Schwartz; John (Wendy) Kobe; stepchildren; Donald (Sonia) Dickerson; Brian (Aleyda) Bailey; Sarah (Brad) Westerberg; Courtney (Josh) Engquist and grandchildren; Hayden, Tyler, Noah and Jordan and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Anybody that knew Joe recognized a tough guy exterior, with a heart of gold. We will never forget his witty comments. He was loyal and genuine. His family will always cherish their memories of fishing followed by a wonderful fish fry. They will miss his great breakfasts, ribeye steaks, turkey on the grill, and traditional Kobe Ravioli dinners. His memory will live on in our hearts.
The family plans to honor and celebrate Joe’s life with extended family and friends later this summer.
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