Joseph R. Best, of Eden Prairie, passed away on March 8, 2018 at the age of 52. A visitation will be held on Monday, March 12, 2018 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation (833 S. Marschall Road) in Shakopee. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 11:00 AM with visitation from 9:30 – 11:00 AM at Pax Christi Catholic Community (12100 Pioneer Trail) in Eden Prairie. Father Bill Murtaugh will preside, and Jon Haugo, Jon Best, Marcus Powell, Pat Dolan, Hans Froseth, and Mark Halvorson will act as pallbearers. Joe will be laid to rest at St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery in Garner, Iowa near family.
On January 4, 1966, Robert and Barbara Best welcomed the birth of their only son, Joseph Robert Best. Joe was the fifth of six children and the only boy in the family. As a boy, Joe grew up in Garner, Iowa and enjoyed many wonderful memories with extended family, building houses together with his dad and cousins, and walleye fishing trips up north. Joe and his father even built the deck on the back on his Eden Prairie house, over twenty years ago. Joe was always an athlete. He golfed, played basketball and baseball, and was quarterback of his high school football team, while his cousin, Jon Best was the wide receiver. Joe was always very active and looking for adventure. When his sister’s softball team made it to the state tournament, Joe and two other boys biked more than 70 miles to watch the ballgame. They even made the local newspaper for their efforts. This was just the start of Joe’s lifelong love of cycling.
After graduating from Garner Hayfield High School, Joe attended the University of Northern Iowa where he studies finance and economics. It was at UNI where Joe met his wife. Joe and his buddies were having lots of fun and getting a little rowdy at the Waterloo Indians baseball game. A ballpark usher was sent over to scold them and quiet them down. Later that night, Joe ran into that same usher at a local watering hole. He learned her name was Jane Kivlahan, and they hit it off immediately. Jane was initially drawn to Joe’s love of family, easy, confident manner and gusto for life.
Only two weeks after they met, Jane graduated and moved to Arizona that fall. Joe and Jane spent the first year of their relationship dating long distance. Eventually Joe landed a job in Des Moines, at The Principal Financial Group, and Jane made the move back to Iowa so they could be together. On July 25, 1992, Joe and Jane exchanged wedding vows and started their life together in Des Moines. A couple years later, the family transferred to Arizona with the Principal Financial Group and welcomed their first child, Rachel Marie.
After just a couple years in Arizona, the Bests moved back to the Midwest, with Principal, to be closer to family. They soon welcomed two more children, Hannah and Erik. They settled in Eden Prairie, Minnesota to raise their family. He worked thirteen years at The Principal Financial Group, moved to Unison for 11 years and then merged with AJ Gallagher where he worked for nearly six years. Joe loved his work, was knowledgeable about the industry and forged lifelong connections with colleagues and clients, lasting more than 30 years.
Joe truly loved his family and was so proud of his children. Joe coached many of his children’s soccer and basketball teams. The Bests loved traveling together as a family. Treasured family trips included Chicago with The Field of Dreams, The Wisconsin Dells (with family and friends), Stout Island, St Louis, Disney World, multiple trips to Garner and a recent trip to Italy where Hannah studied abroad during the Spring of 2017.
Joe had a beautiful work/life balance. Throughout his life, Joe enjoyed many hobbies and interests. He was an avid cyclist and was proud to have put more than 5,000 miles on his bike last year. He found a place for himself in the cycling community and treasured the friendships he made. One buddy commented, “Joe was a special mix of humility, humor, smarts, wit and love of his family. Joe was sweet guy but a beast on 2 wheels!” Joe spent two weeks a year in LA, riding with the Orange County Cycling Community, staying with his sister-in-law and her family there. Joe loved riding his bike in the California sunshine, eating fresh food and spending time with family. He loved Blaze Pizza and Fly’n Fish on Newport Beach. Joe was passionate about cooking and living a healthy lifestyle. Joe also enjoyed the simpler things in life like enjoying a cold beer at a live concert, making a perfect campfire, playing poker with the guys or cheering on his beloved Hawkeyes.
Although Joe had many hobbies and interests, the most important thing in his life was his family. Joe’s extended family has always been the common thread throughout his short fifty-two years. He was an excellent husband, father, son, brother, colleague and friend. He taught his kids many valuable lessons over the years and always led by example. Joe showed his family how to work hard, pursue excellence, stay efficient, live healthy and follow your passion, while holding family close.
Joe will be deeply missed and remembered always by his wife, Jane; children, Rachel, Hannah and Erik; mother, Barbara; sisters, Carolyn (Ralph) Hejlik, Kathleen (Charles) Goll, Juli Campbell, Jacqueline (Marvin) Young, Susan (Brian) Beeck; brother-in-law, Scott Campbell; many nieces & nephews; other loving relatives and dear friends. Joe was greeted in Heaven by his father, Robert Best and his father-in-law Dr. James J. Kivlahan. Joe’s legacy will live on in his children and those whose lives he touched.Print Obituary & Condolences