Joel "Pete" Stern of Westerville, Ohio, died Sept. 2, 2013, surrounded by friends and family.
He was born Aug. 21, 1921, in Pittsburgh, Pa., to Lee and Etta Barnet Stern, of Uniontown, Pa.
He was a longtime resident of Parkersburg and member of Temple B'Nai Israel.
He is survived by son, Roger Stern of Tulsa, Okla.; daughter, Carla Stern McVey of San Francisco; his companion, Phyllis Beifuss of Westerville; nephews, Lee and David Stern of New York and Montefalcone, Italy; and "adopted daughters," Andi Stern and Carolyn Bernstein.
He graduated Uniontown High School in 1938, Antioch College in 1948 and earned Master of Library Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1976. He served the Kanawha County Library for many years, retiring as assistant director. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marine and U.S. Navy during World War II. He fondly remembers when his ship made anchor in Oran, Morocco, to deliver goods to the Allied campaign in North Africa. He was astonished to be greeted by his brother, U.S. Army Captain Gates Stern, who managed the Army port operations. Capt. Stern noticed that his brother's ship would call and made it a point to be there when Joel arrived. The two were overjoyed to reunite in the midst of war. On Joel's many convoys during the war, ships ran without lights to be less visible to attack. On duty on the evening of May 6, 1945, Joel saw the lights in his convoy come on one by one. "I knew this was something big," he said. Germany had surrendered. In 2005, Joel was in New York City for a performance by comic actress Dame Edna Everidge. When she called for a volunteer from the audience he admitted, "I was dying to be asked." Joel hammed it up so energetically that Dame Edna had to tell him to "cool it."