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Joel Thomas Kolterman

September 28, 1944 November 25, 2015
Joel Thomas Kolterman
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Obituary for Joel Thomas Kolterman
Age 71 of Littleton, CO. Beloved husband of Jari.

Joel was preceded in death by his parents, Herb and Marcile Kolterman. He is survived by his loving wife Jari and their two sons and families: Shawn and Anna Kolterman of Omaha, NE and their five daughters: Juliet, Cecilia, Eleanor, Marielle and Francesca and Derek and Shizue Kolterman of San Diego, CA and their son Joe and daughter Kei. Also surviving are Joel’s three siblings and their families: Brian and Jayne Kolterman; Karen (Kolterman) and Bob Heintzen; and Kristin (Kolterman) and Dennis Kuhr.

Marcile and Herb Kolterman introduced Brian to his new baby brother Joel Thomas Kolterman on September 28, 1944 in the small town of Blair, NE. Ten years later and now a big brother himself to two little sisters, Kristin and Karen, Joel started spending some of his formative years in the family business at the Ben Franklin Five & Dime Store developing his interest in business along with a strong work ethic and, perhaps most significantly, cultivating his unrivaled aficionado’s appreciation of and dedication to one of life’s finest pleasures – that category of sweet confectionery encompassing all varieties of chocolates, caramels, marshmallows, jellies, toffees, and taffys whose principal ingredient is sugar. Thus began a love affair with candy that truly lasted the rest of his life.

If ever anyone lived a Norman Rockwellesque childhood, it was Joel and Brian and their packs of friends growing up in small-town Blair, NE. Over the next decade, most of their given names were replaced with at least one nickname; Brian became “Tink,” Joel “Rocky,” and Gary Hansen and Roger Nelson, two of his bosom buddies, “Bullwinkle” and “Lank” respectively. Along with Carlos, Haas, Turkey, Rope and his little brother Twine (and, no kidding, their little sister String), these boys became young men as Eisenhower passed the baton to Kennedy, while Elvis Presley and Ray Charles were changing the face of popular music, as the Diner became a main gathering point for teens and young adults across the country, and while Motor City pumped out some of its most memorable automotive creations.

As the mid-1950s passed into the mid-1960s, Joel acquired a passion for cars. He was a wealth of information about all types of vehicles old and new. He could tell you how the taillights changed from one year to the next on dozens of different makes and models, how the fenders and bumpers, hoods and grills evolved over time, which motor size was made in which year, and on and on. He was once accused of being able to identify a ’47 Ford just from the smell of it. At that time, it would be fair to say that his love of candy was rivaled only by his library of knowledge about and passion for cars.

At age twenty-one, however, after the administration of Northwest Missouri State University politely, but firmly, asked him to select an alternate location to finish his collegiate career, Joel met a brown-eyed, southern California girl who had matriculated from the west coast to attend Dana College in his home town of Blair, NE. Jarilyn Kay Uecker fell in love with Cowboy Joe’s unforgettably blue eyes at first sight, and with his equally sparkly personality, irrepressible sense of humor, and charismatic smile very shortly thereafter. In turn, candy, cars, and childhood friendships alike received the sign of the hawk and took a back seat as the self-proclaimed Duke of Earl fell in love with his California Girl as well.

The next 50 years witnessed many adventures for Cowboy Joe and his Critter (yes, even Jari received her own nickname or three), giving life, love, and countless gifts to two sons, doting on and adoring seven fortunate grandchildren, splitting time between the plains of eastern Nebraska and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, visiting beautiful cities and countries on several continents, and being blessed with the warmth of enduring friendship wherever they went and a love for each other that matured over time into an inspiration for those who knew and loved them most closely.

Throughout all the joys and challenges life throws at all of us, including his fifteen year long walk with cancer, Joel always maintained his ability to laugh – even going so far as to sneak some of his favorite candies into his final hospital room. He loved people and relished the opportunity to coax out of them a smile and a laugh in every situation. A dear friend very recently wrote that the ripple he created in the pond of humanity can be seen in the smiling eyes of his grandchildren. One look at them and you inescapably recognize all the love and beauty and goodness he gave to them and know that it will reverberate positively for generations to come. That is how he would want us to remember him.

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Previous Events

Funeral Service




10:00 AM 11/30/2015 10:00:00 AM
Waterstone Community Church

5890 South Alkire Street
Littleton, CO 80127

Celebration of Joel's Life

Waterstone Community Church
5890 South Alkire Street Littleton 80127 CO
United States

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