Joel George Critzer, age 87, of Plymouth, Minnesota, went to be with his Heavenly Father on January 9, 2021. Joel was a devout Christian, and his walk with Jesus was evident in every aspect of his life, which showed his servant’s heart and a passion to impact the lives of others. Whether volunteering on the church council, ushering, preparing communion, teaching confirmation or Bible Study Fellowship for 20 years, or counseling at Love Lines and Billy Graham Crusades, Joel served the Lord with an unmatched zeal. Joel married Kathleen “Kay” Louise Hewitt in 1956 and they were happily married for 65 years. Whether in their Apache pop-up or Jayco trailer in campgrounds across the United States, or via foreign home exchanges, they traveled around the world. Together they led a Bible study in their home and ushered 18 years at the Ordway side by side. His love for her was unparalleled, and she was the rock in his life. After graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth, Joel served in the Army playing trombone in the 5th Army Band based out of Fort Sheridan, Illinois from 1955-1958. Music held a special place in his heart, and he shared his talents with others. Joel’s band-teaching career included Pequot Lakes, MN, Geneva, IL, and Hopkins, MN; however, this was more than a job for him. He spent 24 years at Hopkins North Junior High. After the final note, and the applause of a well-prepared concert ended, his influence continued. He demonstrated an unprecedented love, care, and genuine interest in everyone he met. His impact covers multiple generations of students and families who were the beneficiary of having “Mr. Critzer” as their band teacher. Survived by loving wife Kathleen; daughter Karen (Bill) Propp, and sons Jeff (Sharon) Critzer and Scott (Julie) Critzer; grandchildren Justin (Sarah) Propp, Becky (Tyler) Fowler, Nathan Propp, Joshua Critzer, Lauren (Edson) Cruz, Annie Critzer, Sam Critzer, and Ben Critzer; great-grandchildren Landon and Addison Propp, Nicholas and Maverick Cruz. The family thanks the staff at Cherrywood Pointe of Plymouth, Methodist Hospital, Centennial Gardens of Crystal and Fairview Hospice. Private funeral service 11 a.m. Thursday, January 14 at Gearty-Delmore Funeral Chapel in Plymouth. A video recording will be available on Joel’s obituary page on the funeral home website. Interment Fort Snelling National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Billy Graham Evangelical Association “Honor and Memorial Giving.” https://billygraham.org/checkout/give-honor-memorial.php Gearty-Delmore 763-553-1411 www.gearty-delmore.com
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