Cover photo for Joseph Elias's Obituary
1934 Joseph 2018

Joseph Elias

October 23, 1934 — September 7, 2018

Joseph Louis Elias, age 83 years of Niles, Michigan died at 5:07 p.m. on Friday, September 7, 2018 at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, Indiana following an unexpected medical event at home on Thursday.

He was born on October 23, 1934 in South Bend, Indiana to Joseph and Helen E. (Verash) Elias.  He was graduated from South Bend Washington High School – “Ever Onward” – in 1953.  He moved to Niles and began a career at Bertrand Products before joining the United States Army in 1957, serving during Peacetime, followed by five years of reserve duty.  He was employed at the National-Standard Corporation for many years, and by Time Magazine in subscriptions where he was known as “Magazine Joe”.  He was currently employed at Hertz Rental Cars at the South Bend airport.  He was also a Notre Dame Usher for 27 years, serving at football, basketball, and volleyball games, and at concerts.

Joe attended Christ the King Catholic Church in South Bend, and was very social, loving to be with – and chat with – everyone.  He was great fan of sports with a vast knowledge of sports trivia and statistics, coached little league baseball, played softball for the DAV, and was a fan of the Chicago Cubs and all sports at the University of Notre Dame.  He enjoyed the outdoors, taking immaculate care of his yard to park-like standards, and going to Lake Michigan – usually in New Buffalo - and usually dining a certain hamburger restaurant during the trip.  He would drive anywhere, and often took his family on vacation across the country to visit distant relatives.

On February 23, 1957 at Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church in South Bend he married the former Betty Lou Walkowski, the love of his life.  Earlier this year, Joe and “Wauska” celebrated the remarkable Sixty-first anniversary of their wedding.

He was preceded in death by his father, Joe Elias on April 21, 1964, his step-father, Otto Underly on January 29, 1984, and his mother, Helen Elias-Underly on September 26, 2009.

Surviving family includes his wife, Betty Elias and their daughters, Beverly (& Dan) Karalash of Granite Bay, California and Tammie (& John) Brown of Buchanan, Michigan; and grandchildren, Morgan Karalash, Alexandra Karalash, Jordan Brown, and Derek Brown.  “Sonny” is also survived by many nieces and nephews

The Catholic Funeral Liturgy will be read for Joseph Elias at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles by the Rev. Stephen Lacroix, C.S.C. of Christ the King Catholic Church.  Committal Rites will follow at Mission Hills, and will conclude with the Veteran’s Flag Presentation and “Taps” by the United States Army Honor Guard.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Tuesday from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home.  Contributions in memory of Joe may be made to Brandywine Community Schools for an athletic scholarship in Joe’s name, 1830 South Third Street, Niles, Michigan  49120;

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Halbritter Wickens Funeral Home

615 E Main St, Niles, MI 49120

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

Funeral Liturgy

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Halbritter Wickens Funeral Home

615 E Main St, Niles, MI 49120

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


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