Joseph W. Cleary

BISMARCK – Joseph W. Cleary, 88, Bismarck, died Jan. 18, 2013, at St. Vincent Care Center, Bismarck. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, 519 Raymond St, Bismarck, with Rev. Msgr. Thomas Richter officiating. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bismarck.

Visitation will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, with a 7 p.m. Knights of Columbus Rosary followed by a vigil. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church.

Joseph Wolter Cleary was born April 11, 1924, in Escanaba, to Gerald Joseph and Regina (Wolter) Cleary. He was raised and received his early education in Escanaba, graduating from high school in 1942. He enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1941. He was drafted into the United States Army in January of 1943. Joe served in World War II from 1943 until September 1945, and in the Korean War from June 1951 until June 1953.

Joe graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 1949, with an MD degree. He was a member of the academic medical society, Alpha Omega Alpha. Joe began his OB/GYN residency in Shreveport, La., and finished at Milwaukee, Wis.

Joe married Audrey Boucher on June 19, 1954, at Menominee. They moved to Bismarck in 1955, where he was employed with the Missouri Valley Clinic from 1955 to 1971, and with the Quain and Ramstad Clinic from 1971 to 1989. In May 1991, he became medical consultant for the North Dakota Medicaid Program. He served as the OB/GYN vice-chairman of the UND School of Medicine. Joe retired on June 30, 1999.

Joe was a member of Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, AMA, N.D. OB/GYN Society, N.D. State Medical Association, American College of OB/GYN, American Association Pro-Life OB/GYN, and was a CCC alumni. Joe also served on the YMCA Board of Trustees, the North Dakota State Board of Medical Examiners and St. Mary Central High School Board.

He enjoyed running, swimming, biking, and reading. He was recognized as the first long distance runner in Bismarck. In his lifetime, he completed 49 marathons.

Joe was an ethical man who maintained high standards of morality. His strong religious belief was demonstrated by the priority he placed on his duties to church, and he was deeply devoted to Audrey, his children, and his grandchildren.

Joe is survived by his wife, Audrey of Bismarck; his eight sons and daughters-in-law, Patrick and Carolyn Cleary of Tucson, Ariz., Paul Cleary and Julie Michels of Fridley, Minn., Bill and Jane Cleary of Bismarck, Philip and Debra Cleary of Eagan, Minn., Richard and Kristin Cleary of Bismarck, N.D., David and Patti Cleary of Glen Mills, Pa., Peter and Kimberly Cleary of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and Stephen Cleary and Liz Howell of Anchorage, Alaska; his three daughters and sons-in-law, Susan and Paul Knoll of Fargo, Barbara and Chuck Nickolay of New Prague, Minn., and Mary and Dan Quinlin of Algona, Iowa; his 32 grandchildren, and two brothers and three sisters-in-law.

Joe was preceded in death by his mother and father; brother, Warren Cleary; and infant grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to St. Mary’s Central High School, YMCA, the North Dakota Lung Association, or Cathedral Grade School.

In honor of Joe’s passion for running, there will be a memorial run at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, meet at the YMCA west parking lot.

Go to to share memories of Joe and sign the online guestbook.