Julius Joseph “Joe” Legako passed from this world into the loving arms of Jesus Christ and his wife, Mary Ann, on July 26, 2019.
During his 97 years, Joe was a man of integrity, strength and kindness. He lived a life of service and devotion to his students, friends, brothers and sisters, and family.
Born September 18, 1921, in Wellston, OK, Joe was the devoted son of Polish immigrants, Edward and Helen Pietrosiewicz Legiejko. He was the 8th of 13 children—8 boys and 5 girls. Growing up, Joe learned many life lessons from his mother and father. They gave him an appreciation for education, strong work habits and fair discipline—values that he would pass on to his daughters.
During high school, Joe discovered his love of agriculture and the Future Farmers of America. He also participated in all types of sports—basketball, baseball and track—and was the only senior boy to letter in all three.
Joe attended Connors State College, and then went on to achieve his B.S. in Agronomy and M.S. in Agriculture Education at Oklahoma State University. He remained loyal to the Pokes and passionate about OSU wrestling.
During World War II, Joe served in the Pacific Theater in the Marine Corp and later, in the Merchant Marines.
Joe married Mary Ann Norman in Luther, OK on August 1, 1948 and lived as a loving couple for more than 70 years. They made their home in Watonga with their daughters, Meridith and Jana.
Joe spent 29 years as an agriculture teacher in Hitchcock and Watonga. FFA was an important part of his life since it allowed him to shape and support young men’s lives in farming.
Joe expected his students to prepare, work hard and do their best. He helped many attain state and national awards in farming, including numerous consecutive years of State Wheat Kings. Joe himself was recognized as Oklahoma’s Outstanding Agriculture Teacher in Soils, Crops and Fertilizers and Outstanding Agriculture Teacher in Soil Conservation. He was recognized for his excellence in teaching, yet it was his personal attention to students and their needs that set him apart.
While he achieved much, he remained unpretentious and genuine throughout his lifetime.
After retirement, Joe and Mary Ann moved to Edmond where they lived for more than 25 years. In 1999, and then again in 2002, they welcomed the arrival of their granddaughters, Mary Ann and Susan.
Joe is survived by his daughters, Jana Legako of Oklahoma City and Meridith Scott of Tewksbury, New Jersey; his son-in-law, Joe Scott and granddaughters, Mary Ann Aja Scott and Susan Lora Scott; and the many nieces and nephews that he loved very much.
Memorial services will at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, August 1, 2019, at Church of the Servant United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City. Graveside services will at 10:00 a.m., Friday, August 2, 2019, at the Wellston Cemetery, Wellston, OK.
Gifts in his memory can be made to the OSU Foundation and designated to the Joe Legako Excellence in Agricultural Education (21-74000). Checks should be made payable to the OSU Foundation and mailed to PO Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749. Donations can also be made at www.OSUgiving.com.