Joe Toni Gerhardus Eberson, a 30-year resident of Ahwatukee Foothills, flew west on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 5:15 p.m. to join his heavenly father. Joe was born on Nov. 26, 1931 in Bilthoven, Holland, to Joseph M.A. Eberson and Catharine J.E. Eberson. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Florence N. Laurens-Eberson. They shared 29 years of happy marriage together. Joe has five children from his first marriage; Joe M.T. (Sue) Eberson, Marianne M.E. (Ron) Riales, Sven J. (Sandra) Eberson, Anitra D. (David) Bryant and Cole E. (Ann) Eberson. Florence has four children; Janine F. Weber, Marjan M. (Tom) Polek, Charlotte E. (Kelly) Loomer and J. Eric Weber. Together they have 24 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Joe is preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Marjorie H. Wolf, and his only brother, Sirocco J. Eberson.

At an early age, Joe was fascinated by airplanes and decided to become a pilot. After graduating from college, he joined the Netherlands Air Force in 1950. The USAF provided the pilot training in the U.S. and Joe graduated Sept. 13, 1952 at Craig AFB, Alabama. Joe served five years in NATO, transferred his commission to the USAF in 1956 as a jet-pilot instructor, and served at various other squadron assignments; returning to Phoenix in 1960, Joe joined the Arizona Air National Guard, flying C-97s in a world-wide mission. After the Guard changed to a refueling mission, he left with the rank of Major.

As a weekend warrior, Joe had an opportunity to start his insurance agency for State Farm in March 1960, and operated the agency for 51 years in Phoenix. Joe was always grateful for the opportunities the U.S. offered him and he served in this community, as president and member of the Phoenix Elementary School Board 1, was a member of the Boy Scouts of America Theodore Roosevelt Council, and Institutional Representative for many years. He is a member of the Desert Foothills United Methodist Church. With other Dutch immigrants he helped start the Netherlands Business Association of Arizona, first as a member and later as president. Besides flying, Joe enjoyed traveling, camping, hunting, skiing, scuba diving and hiking.

The Eberson family would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America for their excellent treatment and personal care during Joe’s courageous 2 1/2-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1 at Central United Methodist Church, 1875 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. Immediately following the funeral service, the Eberson family will greet all guests in Kendall Hall at the church. Interment will take place at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1 at City of Mesa Cemetery, 1212 N. Center St., Mesa, where military honors will be provided by the United Sates Air Force Honor Guards.

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