Paul Joseph Pless

paul pless
Asheville - Paul Joseph Pless, Sr., 70, passed away Friday, September 6, 2002 at Mission St. Joseph’s Hospital surrounded by family and friends. He was Joe to many people and was “PawPaw” to his grandchildren and their numerous friends. Joe was born in Haywood County, however, lived in Asheville for 68 years. He attended Lee Edwards High School and graduated in 1950. After graduation, he joined the United States Army and served in the Korean War. Upon his return, Joe began learning the family business, the Dreamland Drive-In Theater and later became the owner. He was a member of the Asheville City Council from 1981-1983, Citizens for Better Schools and President of the T.C. Roberson Rams Club from 1968-1970. He has been an active member of the Association for Retarded Citizens, the Asheville Optimist Club, of which he was president, Shriners of Asheville, T.C. Roberson Rams Club and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Joe was born May 10, 1932 to the late Paul Pless and Marjorie Duckett Pless. In addition to his parents, PawPaw was preceded in death by a precious granddaughter, Hayley Brooke Pless. Joe is survived by a loving wife of 51 years, JoAnn Pless; four children, Dusty Pless, and wife Judy, Debbie Harris, and husband Mike, Kathy Bowman, and husband Mack, and Tim Pless, all of Asheville; and his eight adoring grandchildren, Meredith Pless, Natalie Pless, McKenzie Harris, Emily Bowman, Colby Harris, Hunter Pless, Grant Bowman and Maddison Harris. He is also survived by his five sisters, Sara Helgesen of St. Petersburg, Martha Stakias of Asheville, Polly Bradley of Asheville, Margaret Keys of Asheville and Rosemary Prigoff of Asheville. A memorial service will be held at 5:00 pm Monday, September 9, 2002 at Biltmore Baptist Church, 35 Clayton Road. The family will receive friends following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Arc of Buncombe County, Inc., 50 S. French Broad Avenue, 28801, the Eblen Foundation, 18 Regent Park Blvd., 28806 or to the T.C. Roberson Rams Club, 250 Overlook Road, 28803, all in Asheville, NC.

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Memories Timeline


  1. JoAnn and Family, Regardless of age, health, or any other circumstance in life we are never ready to lose our loved ones and especially a spouse. The only real comfort comes from a real Faith in the Sovereignty of God and the manifested concern of caring friends. Please know we are thinking of you and your family and Joe’s Sisters. We will remember you in our prayers.

    Zunita and Joe Clark

  2. Dear Joann, Dusty, Debbie, and Kathy,
    I’m not sure I will make it to Asheville with Mama and Daddy, but I am praying for you and thinking of you. You are so very special to our family.
    We love you all,

  3. A special sense of humor attracted you to get to know Joe better. It was a privilege to have known Joe. God bless the entire family during this hard time.

  4. Over the years Randy thought the world of Joe, all the wonderful memories and friendship will live forever. Randy remembers when Joe would run out of bread, Joe would call no matter when and say ‘get me some bread’ then years later he would call Randy for police work. Joe was such a warm and caring man. I felt so close to the both of you just from the friendship that my parents shared with you. Randy and I will always cherish the wedding gift of the beautiful bird dish that you both gave us. It decorates our coffee table and will always be a reminder of the love you both give so much of. We love you. He meant the world to so many people and always know that the deep sympathy and concern for you and your family will always be in our heart. Love to all your family. The Riddles

  5. JoAnn and family my thoughts and prayers go out to you as I know your pain. I know God is embracing Joe in heaven and my prayers are with you and yours that He will be your strength in your loss here on earth.

  6. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the Pless family. Mr. Pless leaves a void in your lives that can never be replaced but your memories of him will last forever.

  7. To The Pless Family,

    I am so very sorry to read of Joe’s death. He was a very kind and friendly person. My father, Dillard Stephenson, worked many years for Joe and thought of him with great admiration. He will be remembered for his kind nature.
    Now he has eternal life and what greater gift can be given to anyone.
    God bless all of you and may God comfort you in your time of sorrow.

    Remembering Joe fondly,

    Whilamena Stephenson Qualls

  8. JoAnn and family, Even though sadness can’t be taken away, it can be shared with those who cared so much about Joe and you.

    With Deepest Sympathy, Faye (Ruth)Robinson

  9. To all of you our deepest condolences.It is never easy to give up a parent. I remember the night Kathy came up to me at Ridgecrest during Carolina Mountain Christmas and told me her parents were their. That was the first time I had seen either of them in so many years. But they both looked as young as they did the many years ago I used to see them often going over to the Messers house,from across the street where I grew up. Life is never the same when a parent dies, then both. But God will give you the strength to face each day, if only you ask for. Kathy, I am really sorry, This time last year we lost Bo then Paulette, then my mom.I miss seeing you at Biltmore, please know you and your family are in our prayers. Linda and Michael Conard

  10. To all the family of Joe Pless, but especially sister Rosemary, my classmate through elementary, junior high, high school:

    We were so sorry to hear of Joe’s death. He and my brother Fulton were about the same age and may have graduated Lee Edwards the same year. I know how difficult it must be to lose a sibling. Still, he appears to have had an active, productive life.

    I still remember the times that we came down our driveway from Hillside Street to play 10 minutes at your house on Washington Road when we were children. How long ago that has been! but they are still happy memories.

    My husband and I send our condolences to you and all of Joe’s family.

    Susie Roberts Ray

  11. Dear JoAnn and family. Please accept my deepest sympathy. I am so very sorry for your loss. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers and thoughts. Joe will be missed by all.
    With our love and prayers. Barbara B. Fowler
    I’m the one who crashed your party a couple of years ago. Love you. Barb

  12. we are so sorry for your loss. please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

    michael and kathy calloway

  13. You have our deepest sympathy in your loss of a loved one. We will hold you in our thoughts and prayers.

  14. JoAnn and Family, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time. Joe was such a thoughtful and generous man, and gave of himself to community and to his former high school classmates. He will be missed. Dot Wallen Stepp also sends her sincere condolences. Jane Anne, Class of 1949

  15. JoAnn: Our Prayers and Thoughts are with you and your Family.

    Tom & Dolores Boutwell
    President, The Land of the Shrine Club

  16. Dear Joanne, Dusty, Debbie, and Kathy, I am so sorry that I can not come to be with you tomorrow. Please know how much I love you and that my prayers are with you. We have known each other for 45 years, and even though we don’t live next door to each other anymore, I still feel like you are my second family. Lynn and I would like to come to Asheville to see you, but for now, please know that my thoughts are with you.
    With much love always, Susan

  17. Joann,Please accept my heartfelt sympathy in your time of great sorrow. Only those who have lost a husband can know the depths of your feelings. May God comfort you and give you strength to bear your sorrow.’They are dancing in heaven with Joe’s arrival.’ I send my love, Sylvia

  18. Dear Joanne, So sorry about Joe, I understand and know better then anyone what you are going thru.. My love and thoughts and prays are with you..We are both so lucky to have our wonderful children with us… Take care of yourself. God will help you thru this stressful time.. My prays and love is with you and your family.. Peggy Turner Michael

    Peggy Turner Michael

  19. To The Pless Family
    We were sorry to hear about Joe,and we want you all to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Betty Hoglen
    Glenn & Beth Hoglen
    Karen Cowan

  20. Cookie and I met your family in its most trying hour. Your love and devotion to Mr. Pless and your courage and grace at his passing is the greatest memorial a man can receive. God bless and keep you all. Jill Gregory & Cookie Walker

  21. To the Pless Family
    Our prayers and thoughts are with
    you at this time. May the many fond
    memories help fill the void in your
    lives. Joe has touched the lives of
    many people. He was kind to people
    who had no friends and gave them new
    hope. Blessings and peace,
    Grover and Betty Nelon Rhodes

  22. To Kathy, Mack, and the Pless family
    Although we didn’t know him personally, he had to be a great man from the contributions he has made to the community through so many lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this sad time of loss.

    Terry & Mary Alice Ramsey

  23. I consider it a great honor to have known and to have had Joe Pless as a friend.
    If more people were like him the world would certainly be a better place.
    My deepest sympathy to his family.

  24. Joe was a giving person to this community and children he will be missed my prayers are with his family

  25. I’m sorry about your troubles and will be keeping you on my mind and in my heart.
    I’ll be in touch as soon as it’s appropriate

  26. JoAnn,
    Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Joe was a wonderful friend to us and will be sorely missed.
    With Sincere Sympathy,
    Terry & Gail Robinson
    #403 The Wellington

  27. Please accept my deepest sympathy
    for your loss. I remember Joe in
    school as a good person and friend.
    God bless you.
    Bill Looney–class of 1949

  28. My Deepest Sympathy

    Joe told me he was prepared for a hard fight, but if he was to lose, that’s part of life. He was spared the agony of the fight.

  29. Joe has been a dear friend to Eliada Homes for many years and he will be missed. The family is in our thoughts and prayers at this time. Sincerely, Linda Humphrey

  30. JoAnn and family we were so saddened to read about Joe in the paper this morning. Please know that our prayers are with you and we will continue to remember you. Joe was a great man and a good friend. We will always remember the good times at Santa Pal. Bob was reminising about the good times he had on the dance team that used to practice down at the Wagon Wheel years ago. Little Mom,(Frances Creasman) and our Daughter Angie also sends their love.
    We love you all,
    Bob & Carolyn Hill

  31. To The Pless Family,
    We are so sorry to hear of Joe’s passing. Please accept our sympathy at this time of need in your life.
    May the Lord be with you and comfort you.

    Doris Miller and Jack Ollary

  32. Hi everyone,
    I just wanted to let all of you know that I was thinking about yall in your time of grief, and if there is anything you need, I’m just a phone call away. I love you all very much and you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Love and comfort,
    Jenn Hall

  33. Dear Kathy, Mac, Emily, and Grant,

    Our hearts go out to you during this time of loss. Kathy, from all you hadve told me your dad was a wonderful man. Though Gary and I did not have the blessing of knowing him personally, your family has been such a blessing to us, and I am sure that his influence in your lives has had much to do with the people that you are.

    I just wanted you to know that our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. I am praying that you will feel the presence of Jesus more than ever during this time of darkness. Our hearts go out to you.

    With Love and

    Becky (for
    Gary,Melissa,and Justin too)

  34. JoAnn,Dusty,Debbie, Kathy and Familes:We are unable to attend the memorial service today and wanted let you know you have been in our thoughts and prayers. We will miss Joe very much. He was a real friend and we will always have great memories being with him and all of your family at Optimist, Santa Pal and other happy occasions. We send our deepest sympathy

  35. JoAnn and family, So sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  36. Dusty, Debbie, and Kathy – Angela and I extend our condolences to each of you and your families on Joe’s passing. Having experienced Dad’s death almost a year ago I know that although this time is difficult – strength of the family and support from friends and loved ones around you can provide a tremendous lift. I will always remember Joe as a fixture at athletic events especially during my Roberson days as a student. My hope is that as Asheville continues to ‘ progress ‘ the citizens never forget the positive impact individuals such as your dad made to our hometown!

  37. My sincere sympathy to all the family members— I have known Mr Pless for many years–Worked for him at the theater in the late 60’s
    He was always very nice to me as was
    the family—- I worked with his
    sister Margaret at Mission Hospital
    and have been neighbors with both
    Polly and Rosemary—so I feel like
    I knew them quite well..-

    While I can not be with you at the Memorial Service– all of you will be in my thoughts and prayers-

    May God Bless each of you and keep you in his care now and forever.

  38. To the family: You don’t know me, but Dusty and Kathy were a LOT younger than I in school, but Kathy
    and her family are attending the same church I’ve attended all my life.
    My prayer is that God will give you ALL a peace that passeth all understanding now and for the days ahead.

    Betty Ponder

  39. Debbie and I are very sorry about your loss. You will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

  40. JoAnn and Family – Words cannot express my sincere sympathy to each of you at this time. Joe has touched many lives in this community including mine. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  41. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Pless family for your tremendous loss of someone so dear. I’ll never forget the warmth and hospitality shown to me by your family as a young girl. It made a huge difference in my life and I’ll never forget it. May God Bless and Keep all of you.

  42. Dear Debbie, Kathy, Dusty and Mrs. Pless, I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Pless’ homegoing. I remember him with such fondness and smile with the many times we laughed together at the Dreamland. I wish I could be in NC to give you support, I was so appreciative of Debbie and Mike’s visit when I lost my dad. My prayers are with each of you. May God’s love surround you in a very special way at this time. Love, Barbara

  43. My thoughts and prayers are with each of you. As you know, I thought the world of Joe. He will be very much missed in theis community

  44. To Margaret,
    Hello…We were so sorry to read about your brother’s passing. He was a most gracious and kind man, one who extended many kindnesses over the years to my family. You probably do not remember me…I have been in Boston for 19 years and only came home in May. I remember you as Margaret Jones (Dago), as does Mother. We have known each other for more years than I want to count!! Take care and you and your Family are in our prayers.

  45. Dear JoAnn,
    Sorry to hear about Joe’s passing. He was always there pulling for the class of ’51, just as if it were his,too. Joe was a great guy, and we will miss him.

  46. Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with you today in the loss of your Father and a wonderful man. Please know that we care.

    Bill and Nancy Rathburn and the employees of Rathburn Food Equipment, Inc.

  47. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the family. I remember 25 years ago, when I was a young attorney with Bob Long, the smiling face of cousin Joe coming into the office. He enjoyed life.

  48. Dusty, Judy, and family,
    Sorry to hear about the passing of your dad. Linda Fortner Oates called today to relay the sad news. She was in Chimney Rock over the weekend and saw the CITIZEN article about him. I think I met him the one time, when ya’ll hosted the World’s Fair-bound crowd on Pless Mountain 20+ years ago.
    I know that he will be missed by all who were fortunate to know him.
    In sympathy,
    Jim & Robin Harrill

  49. We are sorry for your loss. You will be in our prayers and thoughts.

    Rosa Lee Baldwin
    Jan and Bryant Webster

  50. JoAnn and Family, sorry to hear about Joe. Where have the years gone? I remember the day you and Joe were married at your parent’s house. Joe R and I were married the next year. We just celebrated our 50th.

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