The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Joseph Frank Cayer


October 17, 2018

IRONWOOD, Mich. - Joseph Frank Cayer, 68, of Ironwood, passed away peacefully with his loving family by his side on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

Joe was born on June 1, 1950, in Ironwood, son of the late Joseph C. and Waltrude (Schwab) Cayer. Many of Joe's school years were spent living in various places, as his father was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. Some of his favorite childhood memories were of living in Fort Riley, Kan. Joe graduated from Hurley (Wis.) High School in 1968. He loved playing football for the Hurley Midgets.

On Aug. 18, 1973, Joe and the love of his life, his angel, Dianne (St. John), married at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Ironwood. This year they celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. They were truly devoted to one another and their love is an inspiration to all.

After attending Gogebic Community College and Northern Michigan University's Police Academy, Joe began working as a police officer for the Ironwood Police Department in 1973. As the years passed, it became the Ironwood Public Safety Department and Joe was also trained as a firefighter. Throughout Joe's career, he earned the rank of captain and eventually retired as director in 2002.

He was a DARE instructor for the Ironwood Area School District for many years. He was also a firefighting instructor for numerous years. He took pride in this and enjoyed it very much. During his career, he attended many trainings and schoolings to improve his job performance and skills. He was presented countless awards and certificates throughout the years, as well. Beginning during his high school years and continuing on the weekends up until his retirement, he worked for Chum Kieber's and J&M's service stations as a mechanic. This was his relaxation time and he enjoyed "pulling wrenches."

Joe was a true leader for his community and valued helping others. He served on the Ironwood Area School Board, the Ironwood Scholarship Committee, the Ironwood Development Commission, the Police and Fire Pension System, the Planning Commission, the Ironwood Housing Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, Knights of Columbus, Ironwood Kiwanis and many more committees and boards.

Joe will forever be missed by his loving wife, Dianne; son, Joseph J .; daughter, Carissa (Tom); grand puppy, Stoshie; grand kitty, "Cat in the Hat;" brother, Mark (Diane); sister, Sue; sisters- and brothers-in-law, Darlene (Dean) Perelli, Sandy St. John (Danny Kusz), Jeff Wasley and all of their families; as well as many extended family members, friends and colleagues. Joe was very grateful for each and every one of them. He has left a legacy and will not be forgotten.

Joe was preceded in death by all of his maternal and paternal aunts and uncles and their spouses. Most recently, he was preceded in death by his sister-in-law, Bonnie St. John.

Joe was a very devoted Catholic and longtime member of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Parish.

Visitation and Mass will be held at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church on Friday, Oct. 19. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. and a Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 a.m. with Father Robb Jurkovich as celebrant.

Cremation will take place after the visitation and Mass. Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery on Monday, Oct. 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Ketola-Burla Funeral Home of Ironwood is assisting the family with arrangements. For more information and to express condolences, visit

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou


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