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R.I.P. Joe Wartman, AKA "joemomma"

Posted By: SVP Neon Equipment
Date: Wednesday, 13 August 2008, at 3:56 p.m.

It is with great sadness that I write this. Joe passed away early Saturday morning, August 2nd from cancer, a result of being exposed to Agent Orange while doing his tour of duty in Viet Nam as a Marine. Here is a link to his obituary:

Joe loved the sign business, particularly neon. He was a true sign professional. He believed in doing it right the first time, or not at all. He was born to a life-long neon man, Lou Wartman (Lou's Neon). Though Joe never became a career bender, he started working at his fathers neon shop at age 11, as many of his siblings did, putting together neon beer signs and eventually becoming a pumper.

Joe was part of a large family (14 children I think) and three of his brothers did become career benders: Steve, who preceded Joe from this life several years ago, Tom, who owns and operates Neonworks of Cincinnati, and a third brother whom I have never had the pleasure of knowing.

Joe owned his own service and installation business for a number of years. More recently he merged his business with Tri State Signs in Cincinnati, the company he was working for when his illness would not allow him to work any more.

Joe also enjoyed the sign and neon related message forums. As a veteran sign man, they brought another dimension to his life that was both beneficial and pleasurable for him. He would often offer the insight and advice only someone of his experience and professional caliber could offer, helping others with their sign problems whenever he could, while at the same time learning new things.

As with many of us who are self-employed, Joe did not have any health insurance. As a result, his family has been left with considerable medical expenses. The family requests that anyone interested in helping to please make donations to the Joseph Wartman Trust Fund. Although the obituary mentions the bank name, it does not offer any other information. I have taken the liberty of acquiring the necessary information to make it easy for anyone to make a donation. I encourage anyone and everyone who knew Joe, or knew of him, to please help by making a donation to his trust fund. Even a small $10 to $20 check will help. Simply make your check payable to "Bank of Kentucky" and mail it to the address below. For the memo line please include "Joseph Wartman Trust Fund" so the funds get put into the right account.

Bank of Kentucky
Attn: Traci Carter
Joseph Wartman Trust Fund
111 Lookout Farm Dr.
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

If you need to contact Traci Carter for any reason her phone # is: 859-372-9743

On a personal note, the sign industry in general, as well as the neon industry, would be a lot better off if there were more people like Joe Wartman. We all could learn from his work ethic, personal values and professionalism. Those traits seem to be hard to find in today's business world where greed has overshadowed moderation, fairness and quality.

Mark Snyder
SVP Neon Equipment

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