Cover photo for Josef Pehan's Obituary
Josef Pehan Profile Photo

Josef Pehan

January 15, 1936 — June 22, 2022

Josef Pehan

Josef “Joe” Pehan, 86 of 304 Hudson Avenue passed away on June 21, 2022 at sunset surrounded by his family.

Joe was born January 15, 1936 in present-day Serbia to his late mother and father, Cacilia and Franz Pehan. Joe was one of the few remaining survivors of the Danube-Schwabian genocide which occurred at the end of WWII in Yugoslavia. He, along with his mother and sister, found asylum in Austria, and later moved to Bietigheim, Germany, where he met his wife of 64 years, Maria Pehan. In 1958, the newly married couple immigrated to the United States where they lived together in Staunton for more than 60 years.

Joe completed tailoring school in Austria and worked as a professional tailor until 2018. He designed and crafted suits for the Statler Brothers’ performances for more than 20 years, which are now on display at the Statler Brothers Museum in Staunton. He was later known for his famous German sausage that he sold weekly at the Staunton Farmers Market and yearly at Oktoberfest. Joe was a man of many talents, but his greatest passions were his love of HAM radios and music. Joe received the highest HAM radio license, made a patent for a new HAM device, and often used his talents to assist in natural disaster relief efforts. He was known to his grandchildren as “CQ Poppop” for the call code used to invite other operators from around the world to speak with him. Music was his greatest joy, and he often played his harmonica and whistled with the German band at the Edelweiss Restaurant in Staunton. Some of his precious last moments included listening to his favorite German polka and Austrian waltz music with a smile while surrounded by his family.

Joe was known for his infectious laugh, bright blue eyes, incredible work ethic, and devotion to his family. It was hard to turn down a sample of his sausage or a dance with him. Joe was the cornerstone of the Pehan and Cope families, and will also be greatly missed by his dear friends and great-niece, Kathrin Ott.

Joe is survived by his wife, Maria Pehan; his children, Fredy Pehan and Christine Cope; his daughter-in-law Jackie Pehan; his six grandchildren, Zachery Cope, Tyler Cope, Heidi Cope, Tria Cope, Nicole Pehan, and Ashley Pehan; his three great-grandchildren, Riley Cope, Isla Cope, and Miles Cope; his daughter-in-law Casie Cope; Liesel Molnar and family in Austria; John Kollin and family in New Jersey; Magdalene Ammann and Magdalene Emich and families in Pennsylvania; Ehrhardt Schmidt and Ilse Barth and families in Germany; Annie Seiwald, the late Josef Goth, and the late Margareta Jambor and their families in Germany; and his beloved family dog, Winston.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara Schmidt.

The family will host a celebration of his life on Sunday, July 10th from 2-6 PM at the Edelweiss German Restaurant (19 Edelweiss Lane, Staunton). Flowers and condolences may be sent to his wife Maria, or donations may be made to Guitarists For Good, a nonprofit that donates guitars and music lessons to children and other individuals with housing insecurities in honor of Joe.

A very special and heartfelt Thank You to all the nurses from Augusta Health Hospital and Hospice and therapists from Bethesda Physical Therapy. Your kindness, care, and friendship will never be forgotten.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Josef Pehan, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, July 10, 2022

2:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Edelweiss German Restaurant

19 Edelweiss Ln, Staunton, VA 24401

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