Joseph Wolking ’52
Joseph Anthony (“Joe”) Wolking, 85, passed away on December 6, 2019 at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville, TN) following a brief illness.
A memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 11 AM at Christ the King Church at Annunciation Catholic Parish. Additionally, a Celebration of Life Mass will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 18th at the Church of the Madalene in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Burial will follow at a later date at the St. Roch Catholic Church, Mentz, Texas.
Born May 7, 1934 in Donnelly, Minnesota, the youngest son of Lawrence and Tecla (Loegering) Wolking, Joe graduated from St. John’s Preparatory School and Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota and attended Fordham University, New York, and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He majored in journalism and started his career with the New York Times.
He met his beloved wife of over 60 years, Kathleen Poehling, St. Paul, at the Newman Center while both were attending the University of Minnesota. Joe work for Ojibway Press (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) in Duluth, MN from 1957 – 1969. The Wolking family moved to Tulsa in 1969 where Joe joined Petroleum Publishing Company, predecessor company of PennWell Corporation (Now Clarion Events/Endeavor Business Media). From 1990 until his retirement in 2000, he served as President and CEO of PennWell.
During his career, he served as a director on many business, civic and educational boards including American Business Press, New York, the Newman Center at the University of Tulsa, Friends of Finance, University of Tulsa, Bishop Kelley High School, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Eastern Oklahoma. In 1993 he was elected to the Bishop Kelley Hall of Fame. Following his retirement, he became an avid Master Gardener, and greatly enjoyed his role in “Tulsa Blooms”, designing, planting and cultivating the beautiful flower planters in Tulsa’s Brookside neighborhood. During his retirement, he enjoyed spending time with his family and traveling to Europe. He loved telling stories including the story of his international flight diverted to Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay on 9/11.
In addition to his wife, Kathleen, Joe is survived by son, Christopher (Gail), of Evansville, IN, daughter, Beth (John) Huddleston of Bowling Green, KY, son, Greg (Robbin) of Nashville, TN, daughter, Rebecca (James) Edmiston of Alleyton, TX and son, Eric (Jessica) of McLean, VA. In addition, Joe is survived by twelve grandchildren of whom he was exceptionally proud. He is also survived by one sister, Dorothy Wolking of Minnesota and was preceded in death by his sister Dona Agosti and brother Lawrence.
Joe leaves behind a legacy of professional and outstanding service to his Church, country and community. More importantly, he leaves behind a family who will forever appreciate their time with him as a husband, father, grandfather and role model. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Newman Center at the University of Tulsa or a charity of choice.
Published in Courier Press from Dec. 12 to Dec. 15, 2019