Joseph Simko, 91, of Berrien Center

Published 9:20pm Monday, November 25, 2013

Feb. 15, 1922 —Nov. 24, 2013

Joseph Simko, age 91 years, of Berrien Center, beloved husband and father, passed away Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 following a long illness. Joseph was born Feb. 15, 1922 in Vahovce, Slovakia to John and Margaret (Kiacz) Simko. His parents, like many before them, longed for a better life in America. They left their homeland in 1926, bound for Ellis Island and a new life in a land of opportunity. After various stops along the way, the family finally settled in Berrien County, where they began raising fruit. Fresh produce from Simko Farms could be found on the shelves of area stores for many years. Farming was in Joseph’s blood, as was a love for his new homeland and community. In 1948 he became a proud U.S. citizen. He attended Laurel School, Saint Stephen’s and Our Lady of Hungary Schools in South Bend, along with the former National School in Berrien Center. He also took agricultural classes at Michigan State University.

Joseph married the former Margaret Karacson in South Bend on May 6, 1951. They enjoyed 51 years of marriage together until her death in 2003. Joseph lovingly cared for her during her illness.

Surviving family includes sons Michael Simko and Frank (Barbara) Simko, all of Berrien Center, and daughter Mary (Chad) Hines of Berrien Springs, brother Steve (Lillyan) Simko of Berrien Center, sister-in-law Elsie Vogel of Indianapolis and many nieces and nephews.

Joseph was preceded in death by his parents, wife Margaret and son, Carl Joseph Simko, who died in 2001.

His children will be forever thankful for his love and devotion.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Joseph Simko will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Niles, by Rev. David Otto of the parish, and concelebrated by the Rev. William Melody of The University of Notre Dame. Interment will follow at Union Cemetery, Berrien Center.

The family will receive relatives and friends from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 at the Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles.

Donations in memory of Joseph may be made to Saint Mary Catholic Church, Niles, the Center for Hospice Care (501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka, IN 46545) or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

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