Florent Joseph Verhulst, Jr.
Florent Joseph Verhulst, Jr.

June 1, 1918 - April 18, 2017
Born in Chicago, Ill
Resided in Denver, CO
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Obituary

Florent Joseph (Joe) Verhulst, Jr. was born in Chicago, IL on June 1, 1918. He was the oldest of five children born to Florent Joseph Sr. and Elizabeth (Blommaert) Verhulst. In 1939 Flo, as he was called, earned a B.S. in Commerce from Loyola University, and his MBA from University of Michigan. During his college years he competed in cycling. At age 19, in 1934 he won the Elgin to Chicago 60 mile road race in 2:22, representing the Henry Playground Wheelman.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1934/10/22/page/19/article/verhulst-wins-elgin-chicago-bicycle-event/index.html

His first job was part of a special team investigating the banking irregularities surrounding the T.J. Tendergast Corruption Scandal in Kansas City. He met the love of his life, Frances Rita NaDeau, while working in St. Paul, M.N. where he audited for the Federal Land Bank . In December 1941, he joined the U.S. Army-Air Corps and began training troops in Mauldin, Missouri. Before leaving for Officers Candidate School, he married Frances Rita at the St. Louis Cathedral on June 27, 1942. The newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant was again training troops this time in Nashville, TN, when their first daughter, Mary-Margaret was born. His following assignments included paymaster for the Tuskegee Airmen, teaching at Auburn University (then Auburn Polytechnic Institute), and various duties at the Pentagon.

After, three glorious years in Bermuda daughter #2 Rita Anne was born. They returned to the Pentagon, for 3 years, when daughter #3, Catherine Elizabeth arrived on her father's 35th birthday in 1953.

Three very chilly years followed at Pepperrell Air Force Base in St. John's, Newfoundland, when their 4th daughter, Patricia Jane arrived in 1956.

There followed a year in Montgomery, AL where Major Verhulst attended the Air Force Command and Staff School at Maxwell, Air Force Base. The next assignment was the Air Force Accounting & Finance Center on York Street in Denver. In 1958 daughter #5, Suzanne Hilary was delivered at Fitzsimons Army Hospital.

In 1962, he received his dream assignment in Wiesbaden. Joe took his family on myriad excursions throughout Europe. In May 1965, Faith Julia was born, making an even 6 darling daughters.

In 1966, they returned to Denver and settled in their last home on Monaco Pkwy. He completed his last 2 years of active duty at the Air Force Accounting & Finance Center. After 26 years, Lt. Colonel Florent Joseph Verhulst, Jr. retired from the military in 1968. Thereafter he worked for American Express and Diner's Club who were grateful for his expertise.

Finally retiring in 1978, Joe actively pursued his passions which were: the Retired Officers Association (as president attending all funerals of retired officer members), Denver Advocacy (for the disabled), Senior Lobby, and the Democratic Political Action Committee (hosting caucuses, canvassing door-to-door, or distributing yard signs).

As the father of Faith, who has Down Syndrome, both he and Frances were heavily involved in the Association for Retarded Citizens (now RMDSA). He was also an enthusiastic supporter of Special Olympics. For many years, he and Faith prepared and served weekly meals to the homeless. He was well known in St. James Parish as the "go-to-person" for finances, transportation and odd jobs.

He continued cycling well into his 90's with Faith and his grandchildren. He excelled at card and board games and was a master at chess. He was a fierce competitor who greatly enjoyed winning no matter if it was Uncle Wiggly, checkers, poker or bridge. He was a member of the 12:30 Bridge Club for 20+ years.

Joe was a devoted and loving husband for 72 years and took extraordinary care of Frances for the last 3 years of her life. He taught his daughters how to build, repair and care for a home and garden. He never met an appliance he couldn't fix. Nothing was beyond him: from designing and installing a sprinkler system to building his own storm windows! As a loving father he was ALWAYS there, for his daughters.

As a grandfather, he inspired, praised and motivated. He lovingly mentored Mark and John through Boy Scouts. At their respective, Eagle Award ceremonies, when they acknowledged his help and support he was visibly moved. He lived a life of love and service. He showed us all what a good man really is.

Joe Verhulst, Jr. was survived by sister Lorraine Van DePutte, Niles, MI; daughters, Mary-Margaret Gallagher, Denver; Cathy McKenna (Gary), Lakewood, CO; Suzanne Allexan (Steve), Englewood, CO; Faith Verhulst, Aurora, CO; 8 grandchildren, Mark Cirivello (Jeanette) Littleton, CO; John Cirivello, Aurora, CO; Leslie L. Palmieri (Peter) Eden Prairie, MN; Reed Santee (Maria) Santa Cruz, CA; Clark Santee, New Haven, CT; Greg Santee, Honolulu, HI; Jessica Lindquist (Duncan) Hartland, WI; Sarah Allexan, M.D. (Caleb Kline) Ann Arbor, MI. 5 Great Grandchildren: Luke Joseph Cirivello, Aurora, CO; Gabriel Cirivello, Aurora, CO; Michael and Sophie Palmieri, Eden Prairie, MN; Aurelia Lindquist, Hartland, WI and great-great grandchild, Sivar Cirivello, Centennial, CO.

A celebration of his life will be held April 27, 3-8 pm at the Allexan's home: 5912 S. Dayton Ct. Englewood, CO.

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Horan & McConaty - Wadsworth
3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Lakewood, CO US 80227