In the Hrubik family, Papa Joe is a living legend. We recently celebrated his 100th birthday with him in Williamsburg, Virginia, and we sat for hours and hours just listening to his stories of life over the last 100 years. A lot has happened in 100 years, and he’s been through it all — the highs and the lows.
He was born in 1921 in the decade that would become defined in America for the Great Depression. When he was five years old he lost his mother to sickness, and his father remarried later on. When he was a teenager, he was drafted in World War II and sent to Europe, but because he could type was put into the office and spared much of the fighting.
When he returned to the States after the war, he got married and started a family, of which there were 2 girls and one boy (Ruth’s father). But when Ruth’s dad was in college, his mother, Papa Joe’s wife, died suddenly. Papa Joe later remarried to widow who had 3 girls and the result was like the Brady Bunch — 6 kids in all!
Throughout the years, Papa Joe pastored in the Apostolic Christian Church and eventually became a part of a Baptist church. He worked all those years and retired with his wife Sarah (for whom we named our Sarah after). But nearly 4 years ago, his second wife Sarah passed away.
But Papa Joe remained strong. He continues to live with much joy and love in his heart. In fact, one of his favorite verses is:
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine”Proverbs 17:22a KJV
And it works just like that for him, for just this last February he got COVID, checked himself into the hospital and 4 days later was healthy enough to go home! He lives what he believes and it gives him strength. When I asked him “How do you stay joyful even in the midst of difficult times?” He answered,
“Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is constant, and doesn’t change with the circumstances. It’s always there for you.”
Needless to say, Papa Joe sets a standard for how I want to grow old — full of love, faith and joy, with a beautiful family with me that’s impacting the world!
Happy birthday Papa Joe.