American Veteran 01

Joseph E. Mainous Sr.

November 9, 1927 ~ March 12, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old


Born in Miami, Florida before the discovery of penicillin, sliced bread, scotch tape and the creation of social security, Joe was the son of Arch Glass Mainous, Sr. and Juanita Cornett Mainous. As a youth in the 1930’s and early 40’s he worked jobs as paper boy, greenhouse packer, country club caddy and lifeguard. After graduating Lafayette High School in 1945, he enrolled at the University of Kentucky where he initially majored in cheeseburgers and beer at the old Saratoga restaurant. That frolic was rudely interrupted by his Uncle Sam who made him an offer he literally could not refuse to report for duty in the United States Army. After several years in service to his country learning the finer points of railroad logistics and the underrated art of taking direction from others, Joe returned to the University of Kentucky where he completed his business degree with a more serious focus. Joe enjoyed a 55-year professional career where he was a partner in Mainous & Midkiff Insurance Agency, sold real estate for Joe Mainous Real Estate and appraised farmland for the Kentucky Highway Department. He had a long tenure as a Savings and Loan executive. Joe served as an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky Debate team for many years helping instruct young scholars on how to make rhetoric relevant. His true passion, however, was fishing. He traipsed through rain forests and jungles in Honduras, Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Brazil in search of the best saltwater gamefish. One world record was forced to go unreported as the guide told him that technically they were fishing in Nicaragua which was great for big fish and even better for really big fines. He was rewarded from his travels with a charming bout of malaria acquired in Belize, his live-aboard was burned by cocoa growers in Colombia and he was robbed at gunpoint by cartel entrepreneurs in Mexico when all he was looking for was the fish. In recent years he discovered a fishing camp in northern Canada not far from the Arctic Circle where there were plenty of fish, no tropical diseases or drug lords—and lots of daylight hours to enjoy fishing with his friends, Cousin Dan Kelly, Howard Wiles and Chenault Woodford. In addition to being a hard worker, civic volunteer and avid fisherman, he was a fantastic family man, golf trip chaperone, crab cake expert, late-night scrabble whiz and a man with the greenest thumb for incredible roses. Joe had extreme intellectual curiosity and would get lost for hours in an encyclopedia learning new things. Later, the Internet allowed him to discover many new things and he never ceased his quest for more knowledge. He never fully mastered the subtle art of when to appropriately use the “reply all” feature of email, but he loved his computer. One of his best traits was giving good counsel to his friends. His advice was frequently sought, freely given and those who listened were rarely disappointed. Joe also proved that genetics are essential to longevity. He did not believe daily exercise did much for anyone but the gym owner and he believed green vegetables were something completely acceptable to avoid. It’s hard to argue with his nearly 96 years proving that theory. There is an old adage, “we are here for a good time, not a long time.” For Joe, it was both a good time and a long time. Joe was preceded in death by his wife of 43 years, Betty Garst Mainous and his wife of 11 years, Jacqueline Purdy Mainous. He is survived by his two children, Ann Eston Mainous Whiteside (Dr. Hayes Vance Whiteside) of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joseph Edward Mainous, Jr. (Christina Buxton Mainous) of Lexington, children by marriage, Frank R. “Rusty” Purdy, III (Frankie) and Lyn Purdy Voige (John), three grandchildren, Eston Vance Whiteside, Grace-Ann Duquette (Colin), Remy Catherine Betty Mainous and one great-grandchild, Malcolm Hayes Francis Duquette. He is also survived by nephews William Frank James, Jr (Julie), Arch Glass Mainous, III (Amy), Tyler Redding Mainous (Krista), Robert Poteet McWilliams (Lynne), James Marrs McWilliams (Fonda) and niece Rosalie O’Dell Mainous. Joe is also survived by a brother, Arch Glass Mainous, Jr. (Rosalie), a sister, Jane Mainous James (Bill) and a very special friend who was a son to him, Richard Francis Schoff, Jr. (Stephanie). Memorial contributions can made to The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, Visitor Center Fund via link to Arboretum Visitor Center Fund


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