American Patriotic 10

Joseph M. Kersten

March 26, 1948 ~ December 15, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old

Joseph Kersten Obituary

Joseph M. Kersten, 75, of Woodstock, IL, passed away December 15, 2023.

Eldest son of Otto and Mildred (Freeman) Kersten, Joe was born in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up in nearby Greenwood and Wonder Lake, he attended St. Mary’s Grade School in Woodstock. A 1966 graduate of Marian Central Catholic High School, Joe represented the Hurricanes proudly on the gridiron.

Joe began driving heavy equipment for Don Gavers out of high school. He enlisted in the United States Army the same week his draft number was selected in 1969. Joe served honorably in the 213th Engineer Detachment for thirteen months, stationed in Can Tho, South Vietnam.

Out of the Army, Joe hauled freight domestically for Dean Foods, before establishing his own domestic long-haul freight service, Woodstock Express. In 1974, he married Diane Merwin. Joe later hauled grain regionally for Polyock Farms of Zenda, Wisconsin, and Dean Foods products for MGA, Inc. of Delavan, Wisconsin. While with MGA, Joe also served as shop steward for Teamsters Joint Council #43 of Racine, Wisconsin.

For forty years, Joe devoted himself to serving northern Illinois veterans through a variety of service organizations such as VFW Post #5040 as Adjutant, VietNow McHenry County Chapter as Secretary and President, Amvets, American Legion Post 412 as Adjutant and Vice-Commander, Veterans Assistance Commission of McHenry County, founding and returning Chairman.

Enjoying time spent with family and friends, Joe was also an avid angler, trap shooter and Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Diane (Merwin) Kersten, his three children, Jeff (Keri) Kersten, Don (Heather) Kersten and Colleen (Dave Christy) Kersten; a son-in-law, Matt Thoma, a younger brother, Jim, a step-sister Sheila (Gaulke) Lassman; six grandchildren, Alyssa Rohrbaugh, Jacob Kersten, Madisen Thoma, Norah and Halas Kersten, and Grace Kersten, and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; step-father, William Gaulke; and two step-sisters, Julie (Gaulke) Mass and Terry (Gaulke) McConville.

A visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm at the Schneider Leucht Merwin Cooney Funeral Home, 1211 N. Seminary Avenue, Woodstock.  The Visitation will continue on Thursday, December 21, 2023 at the Funeral Home from 10:00 am until the 11:00 am Funeral Service.  Interment with Military Honors will follow in the Greenwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please generously support the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation (


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December 20, 2023

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Schneider Leucht Merwin Cooney
1211 North Seminary Avenue / P.O. Box 22
Woodstock, IL 60098

December 21, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Schneider Leucht Merwin Cooney
1211 North Seminary Avenue / P.O. Box 22
Woodstock, IL 60098

Funeral Service
December 21, 2023

11:00 AM
Schneider Leucht Merwin Cooney
1211 North Seminary Avenue / P.O. Box 22
Woodstock, IL 60098


Gavers Community Cancer Foundation
P.O. Box 1724, Woodstock IL 60098


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