Joseph D. “Joe” Flath, 62, Garrison, died Nov. 5, 2017, at a Bismarck hospital. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, Garrison. Burial will be on Monday at noon at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan. A rosary will be said on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the church.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m. at Thompson Funeral Home, Garrison.

Joseph D. Flath was born Oct. 18, 1955, to Theophil and Louise (Smith) Flath, the second of six children, and was raised on the family farm northeast of Garrison. He attended school in Garrison, graduating from Garrison High School in 1974. Following high school, Joe joined the U.S. Army serving from Sept. 18, 1974, to Sept. 17, 1976. Following his discharge, he served four years in the Active Reserves. Following his military service, he worked for Brauer Construction and Schwarz Implement, both out of Garrison. In 1980, he began his long career with Cooperative Power (Great River Energy) Coal Creek Station, as a power plant mechanic/certified welder. Joe had plans to retire in February after 37 years with the company. Joe married Melinda Forster on April 22, 1983, in New Salem. They made their home on the Flath family farm where they raised their two children, Michael and Dusti.

Joe was a very active person that enjoyed many hobbies. He was an active golfer and member of the Garrison Golf Club. He was also a tremendously talented man, using his skills and creativity as a woodworker and carpenter, mostly doing projects to satisfy the ideas that Melinda came up with. He was a very patient trouble shooter and mechanic, which came in especially handy at work and on the farm. He also loved to deer hunt, which was followed by sausage making, a skill he learned from Melinda’s father, Lawrence.

In Joe’s small amount of spare time, he was active at St. Nicholas Catholic Church with the Knights of Columbus and Parish Finance Council. He was also very dedicated to the Hugh P. Minehan American Legion Post #49 in Garrison and the Garrison FFA Alumni. As if all of this was not enough, Joe never turned down his family or friends in a time of need. He and Melinda were also extremely excited for the birth of their grandchild, a girl, arriving in March, who now has a wonderful angel to watch over her!

Joe is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Melinda, Garrison; son, Michael (Megan) Flath, and future granddaughter, Bismarck; daughter, Dusti (Dusty) Schirado, Bismarck; son Manny (Samantha) Fitzgerald, and their son Gage Fitzgerald, Calif.; siblings, Janice (Stuart) Merry, Ervin (Crystal) Flath, Edward (Judy) Flath, Boyd Flath, Mary Flath; mother-in-law, Sally Forster; brothers and sisters-in-law, Cindy (Paul) Brandt, Kenny Forster, Wade (Paula) Forster, Pam (Lyle) Boehm, Lori (Jim) Grey; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law, Larry Forster; and brother-in-law, Danny Forster.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to St. Alexius Hospital and St. Gabriel’s in Bismarck, for all they have done for Joe and his family.

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