Cover photo for Joe Pilkenton's Obituary

Joe Pilkenton

July 23, 1947 — March 28, 2024


Joe Pilkenton


Joe William Pilkenton, age 76 of Ingram TX, passed away peacefully in the early morning of March 28, 2024 at home in the presence of his loving wife Margaret Mae (Peggy) Pilkenton.

Joe was born July 23, 1947 in Sedalia, Missouri to Millard Green Pilkenton and Lucille Gertrude Root.  At a young age he moved with his family to Dubuque, Iowa where he grew up enjoying fishing on the Mississippi River. He graduated in 1965 from Dubuque Senior High School excelling in architectural drawing and woodshop classes. He was ahead of his years drawing plans for an imagined futuristic dome shape shopping mall as part of an architectural drawing project. 

Joe enlisted in the Naval Reserve right out of high school and was called to active duty in the US Navy in July 1966. He was assigned to the repair ship USS Amphion AR-13 out of Norfolk Virginia where he was assigned to the sail locker working with upholstery and canvas. He continued on active duty through July 1968 at which time he returned to the Naval Reserve until he was honorably discharged from the US Navy in January 1971. He received the National Defense Service Medal for his service to protect and defend our country during the Vietnam War.

Returning to Dubuque, Joe married Carol Kruschke and they had two children together, Richard and Carrie. Joe was employed by John Deere where he worked on the assembly line bending steel. From there he went to work for Flex Steel upholstering newly manufactured furniture. After he and Carol divorced, Joe moved to Security Colorado where he started his own business New Life Upholstery. He provided upholstery services to Colorado Springs businesses such as Ethan Allen Furniture, Denny’s Restaurants among many other businesses and individual customers. He designed and built custom wheelchair support cushions for a local physical therapy company for many years.

In 1992 he placed a singles ad in the Match Line section of the Colorado Springs newspaper. It was through that ad that he attracted Peggy. They married on Sept 2, 1994 enjoying an outdoor wedding along Crystal Reservoir at the base of Pikes Peak. Up until his death, they enjoyed asking each other “where did I find you?” always smiling and responding with “in the want ads.”  Joe completed the unfinished basement of Peggy’s home in Colorado Springs prior to them moving up Ute Pass to Woodland Park. There they enjoyed riding their horses, Cody and John-O, year-round into the Pikes Peak National Forest. They had many outings to Cripple Creek playing casinos and going for scenic drives throughout the state enjoying the quaking, golden aspen trees in the fall and the majestic mountains in the winter. 

The year 2000 found Joe and Peggy moving to Kerrville Texas to be close to her mom during her final years. Joe opened his upholstery business First Choice Upholstery and worked independently until his retirement in 2019. He provided quality upholstery services to local interior decorators, churches, medical offices and restaurants in addition to many individual customers throughout the hill country. He didn’t advertise and his referrals were always word of mouth. He had a solid reputation for his work ethic, honesty, integrity and quality craftsmanship. He took great pride in his work.

Over the years, Joe belonged to bowling leagues in Dubuque, Colorado Springs and Kerrville. He loved reading science fiction and watching sci fi shows and movies. He was proudly known as the “jokester” for his keen wit and sense of humor. He loved oldies music from the 60’s and in keeping with his humor frequently changed the words to many of the songs bringing laughs to others. Prior to retiring he went to estate sales buying antique furniture to restore and reupholster. He and Peggy enjoyed vacations especially their fall trip to the New England states and to the state of Washington where Joe zip lined for the first time in his life. Over the years of their marriage, he graciously built three horse barns and storage sheds on their various properties. 

Joe never had an unkind word about anyone and was always the first to extend a hand or a word of kindness and compassion to others. He proudly lived by the Golden Rule and the Serenity Prayer. He made it easy to love and spend time with him. Even during the final weeks and days of his life he had the company of friends by his side. He was a magnet that drew people close to him and to each other. He was a humble man grateful for his many friendships and the laughter and support they offered him. He loved deeply, forgave easily and once his friend you were always his friend. 

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, brother Floyd Pilkenton, sister Betty Krieg, and daughter Carrie Pilkenton. He is survived by Peggy, his soul mate and wife of 29 years, feline kids Chelsea and Yogi, brothers-in-law Ed Henderson (Kerrville) and Bob Henderson (Florida), and son Richard Pilkenton (Dubuque).  Nieces and nephews in Iowa and Florida include Raymond Pfeiffer, Sharon Carner, Terri Keck, Dennis Pfeiffer and Carol Krieg and their families. Niece and Nephew by marriage to Peggy are Blair Mohr and Brett Henderson and their families (Houston).

We thank all of our friends and family near and far for their love and support. There are no words big enough to thank caregiver/adopted family member Maria Charnichart whose loyalty, compassionate care and love made such a difference in our lives the past year and a half. Gratitude is deeply felt for our VA Home Based Care Team – Janeth DelToro, Larry Kitchen, Lauren Payne, Diane Thornton, Leo Killian, Amy Chapman and Tina Otero. Gratitude to the Veterans Directed Care Program – Sally Grassmuck and Amber Jenkins. Final appreciation to the Peterson Hospice team and Sam Marshall for end-of-life care provided in our home with compassion, expertise and professionalism. 

A Celebration of Life will be announced and held at a later date. Memorials are requested to be sent to Hill Country Veterans Center, 411 Memorial Blvd Kerrville, Texas 78028 and Veterans Assistance Dogs of Texas (VA Dogs of Texas), 317 Sidney Baker Suite 400 PMB 338 Kerrville, Texas 78028.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Joe you are deeply missed, forever loved and always in our hearts.

 Services with integrity, pride, and honor are under the direction of Kerrville Funeral Home. (830) 895-5111

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joe Pilkenton, please visit our flower store.


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