He was born Dec. 6, 1928, in Fort Scott, Kan., to Joseph and Mary Lily (Hickman) Karleskint.
He grew up and attended school in Fort Scott where he was a graduate of Fort Scott High School and attended Fort Scott Community College.
While serving in the United States Army he was stationed in Germany.
Upon his honorable discharge he served in active reserves until 1957. He lived in Topeka while he was employed by the state of Kansas.
He then began his 37-year employment with AT&T Long Lines as an operations supervisor.
Joe and Theresa Rei were married Feb. 9, 1957, in Fort Scott.
The family lived in Fort Scott and Ottawa before moving to Parsons in 1965.
He was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Parsons and a third degree member of the Knights of Columbus.
He was also a member of the Brown-Bishop Post No. 704 Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks -- BPOE Lodge No. 527 in Parsons and the Katy Parsons Golf Club.
He enjoyed playing golf, hunting, fishing and spending time with his family at Grand Lake.
Joe is described by his family as a "selfless, patient, positive, non-judgmental man who felt nothing was a lost cause. He never met a stranger and was always smiling. He was the epitome of morality and spirituality and will be deeply missed."
Survivors include his wife Theresa of the home in Parsons; one son, Brian Karleskint and wife Vicky, Austin, Texas; three daughters, Terri Flynn and husband, Mark, Parsons; Julie Williams and husband Donnie, Parsons; and Elisa Karleskint, Parsons.
Survivors also include 13 grandchildren: Ryan Flynn and wife Bree, Laguna Hills, Calif.; Meagan Flynn, Wichita; Trisha Henson, Vinita, Okla.; Tyler Williams, Parsons; Trenton Williams, Pittsburg; Derrick Lamm, Baltimore Md.; Kirsten Lamm, Kansas City, Kan.; Trevor Torrence, Edmond, Okla.; Shelby, Jenna and Joseph Karleskint, Austin, Texas; and Brent Dean and Tori Jo Borovetz, both of Parsons.
Also surviving are six great-grandchildren: Conner Henson, Alyssa Henson, Terrell Flynn-Pearce, Bryland Flynn, Demitri Williams and Brynleigh Lamm.
Other survivors include one brother, Jake Karleskint and wife Leota, Cleveland, Ohio; four sisters; Sister Mary Bernedette Karleskint, RSM, St. Louis, Mo.; Sister Mary Barbara Karleskint, RSM, St. Louis; Sister Mary Alfreda Karleskint, CSJ Wichita; and Virginia McLaughlin of Phoenix, Ariz.
He was preceded in death by one daughter, Erica Ann Karleskint; one brother, Anthony Karleskint; and one sister, Bessie Louise Karleskint.
Mass will be held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, May 11, 2011, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Parsons.
Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Parsons.
The Rosary will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Parsons where the family will receive friends immediately following the Rosary.
Memorials are suggested to the St. Patrick's Catholic School Endowment Fund or the Parsons Youth Crisis Shelter.
These may be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, Kan. 67357.
Online condolences may be left at www.forbeshoffman.com.