Local World War II vet, father of 14 turns 100

Joesph Stolmeier

A World War II veteran, Iowa native, onetime business owner and father of 14, Joseph Stolmeier celebrated his 100th birthday in October.

“By golly, it feels like 100 years,” said Stolmeier, who lives in Vista. “It’s hard. This business of getting old and being happy and all that crap, that’s nonsense. It’s difficult.”

He said his biggest accomplishment was starting a family. His 14 children live all over the U.S., and his youngest son, Aaron, lives with him.

But before that, Stolmeier grew up in Davenport, Iowa, where he said it’s “more hot than you could stand in the summertime, the humidity is enough to kill you, you sweat a lot and it’s miserable.”

After his time in the service, he ran his own flooring business. He settled in San Diego for the weather.

Another one of his proudest memories happened two year ago, when he was recognized for his service as a combat veteran of World War II during a Fourth of July parade in Del Mar.

“That’s memorable, I sure appreciate that,” he said.

For his service, he received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Stolmeier was also one of the original members of the Test Battery, the first group of highly trained paratroopers to parachute into enemy territory with a howitzer to ward off the Germans and set up weaponry.

Stolmeier said he had a quiet birthday celebration Oct. 7 with family members checking in on him.

“Everything quiet, nobody’s fighting, everybody’s happy, that’s the way I want it,” he said.