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1947 Paul 2024

Paul A. Joens

July 27, 1947 — June 3, 2024

Cottonwood

Paul Joens, 76, of Cottonwood, Arizona, passed away peacefully at home on June 3, 2024, with loving family by his side. He was stoic and valiant in the face of medical conditions, ignoring symptoms and moving ahead in his busy daily life.


Always a farmer at heart, doing or creating something, he seldom sat down.

Born into a farming family near Manilla, Iowa July 27, 1947, Paul’s parents Clifford and Lois (Jahn) Joens taught him at an early age to milk cows, care for livestock and operate farming equipment. He attended country school and later went to Manilla High School, graduating in 1965.

What his mind could conceive, his hands could create. He built professional-style garden and H-O railroad layouts. He never met an old red tractor he couldn’t restore, removing the motor and parts and putting them back together again so they worked, then painting the tractor red so it looked shiny and new.

He proudly flew his International Harvester flag at tractor pulls, despite his John Deere friends kidding him because he wasn’t into green tractors. His loyal friends from the Arizona Flywheelers Club assisted Paul during his health journeys. Family and friends stopped in often to help.

Paul enlisted in the Army for three years, 1967 through 1969. He received basic training in Ft. Bliss, Texas. From there he completed advanced training in heavy equipment mechanics at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. For a year-and-a-half he was a heavy equipment mechanic and operator with the 78th Combat Engineers Battalion, stationed in Ettlington, Germany. He then served a year in the 15th Combat Engineers, Battalion 9th Infantry Division, as a heavy equipment operator in the Vietnam Mekong Delta area. He attained the rank of Specialist 5, or sergeant.

Paul was honorably discharged on Christmas Day, 1969. He was decorated with the Bronze Star Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

He met his wife Diane Smith in Manilla when he was home on leave between assignments in Germany and Vietnam. They married within the year after his return home.


In 1986 Paul and Diane moved to Cottonwood after farming for 15 years near Manilla. In Arizona, Paul was self-employed, as required by any strong, freedom-loving independent farmer. 

Paul is survived by his wife Diane of 53 years, brother Richard Joens and husband Scott Smith, Winterset, IA; brother-in-law Kirk Smith (Tamra), Spirit Lake, IA; sisters-in-law Debbie Ehret (Marty), Lake Park, IA and Kandi Kautzky, Cochise, AZ.

Having lost all of his own children, his nephews and nieces were his kids, Angela Mackerman, Corey Shepley (Dustie), Austin Hill (Hannah), Whitney Smith, Josie Smith (Mack Coleman), Danny Olson, Mike Olson (Sarah), Harvey Olson (Angela), Elizabeth Johnson (Jeremy), Jake Smith (Amanda), Dakota Smith (Maggie) and Chelsea Smith.

He is also survived by family Jackie Driscoll (Steve), Shelley Sarson (John) and Stephen and Joyce Driscoll, Stephanie Driscoll-McHenry (Jordan), Katie Driscoll (Trevor), Serenity and Emma, as well as many great nieces and nephews and more extended family.

Those who passed before Paul were his three children, April Leigh, David Travis (Davey) and Timothy. Losing one’s children is something one never gets over, and Paul was looking forward to seeing them again in heaven.

His brothers, Billy Joens, Jeff Joens, sister Lila Hill, niece Brandi Kautzky, nephew Zachery Smith, as well as his parents Clifford and Lois and mother-in-law and father-in-law Eugene and Elaine (Densmore) Smith, predeceased him.

Making Paul’s life better were doctors and professionals at the Prescott Northern Arizona VA Health Care System, Cottonwood VA Clinic, Verde Valley Medical Center Oncology, and Accord Hospice. Many other medical professionals helped along the way. Paul was always grateful for their care.

Memorials may be sent to VFW Post 7400, P.O. Box 689, Cottonwood, AZ 86326. Please make a note for the Relief Fund in Paul Joens’ name. The Relief Fund, supported by the VFW’s Buddy Poppy drive and donations, is dedicated solely to helping veterans and their families.

Westcott Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Paul requested no services. His ashes will be entered near his children in Hayes Township Cemetery near Manilla, Crawford County, Iowa.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paul A. Joens, please visit our flower store.

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